Cas No: 111-46-6
EINESC No: 203-872-2
Molecular weight: 106.12 g/mol
Chemical Formula: C4H10O3
General Properties: colorless liquid
Intensity: 1.118 gr/L
Boiling point: 245 °C
Melting point: -10,45 °C
Flash point: 154°C
Vapor pressure: 0.006 mm Hg 25°C
Refraction index: 1.4472 nD 20 °C
Solubility (aqueous) completely miscible
Diethylene glycol, or DEG in short, is an odorless, colorless, low volatility liquid under standard conditions and dehydric aliphatic alcohol compound that normally belongs to a hydroxyl group form each end. It is a hygroscopic substance. It is poisonuous and has a sweet-ish taste. It can be mixed with water, alcohol, ether acetone and ethylene. It is a commonly used solvent.
There are many poisoning cases related to DEG due to it being poisonous and commonly used. The main reason for this is that it is a cost-efficient alternative to propylene glycol in medicine and food. In 1937, 105 lost thier lives because of this way of use and, after this incident, many serious procedures added to drug testning in United States of America. In Australia, it was used as a artificial sweetener in wines, and after this incident, millions of bottles of wine were recalled worldwide. Besides these, it had also caused deaths in Nigeria, India and Spain in different times. Also, its presence in fake toothpastes in China had led to a crisis and China was forced to ban the use of toothpaste.
Although it is still commonly used, many fields started using triethylene glycol, instead of DEG, which has lower toxicity. Nevertheless, it is used in hight amounts as it is less volatile due to it having higher molecular weight when compared to etyhlene glycol.
Di ethylene glycol is generally produced by partial hydrolysis of ethylene oxide. Depending on the situation, different amounts of DEG and other related glycols are produced. It is formed from two ethylene glycol molecules combined with one ether bond. DEG, in general, is one of the byproducts created from production of ethylene glycol and tri etthylene glycol. The amount of DEG is usually depends on prodcution of ethylene glycol as it is one of the most produced glycols.
Diethylene glycol is used in production of saturated and unsaturated polyester resins, polyurethane, and plasticisers. It works as a solvent in dyes, resins, fat and other organic compounds. It is a humectant in tobacco products, printer’s ink and glue.
At the same time, it is preferred as selective solvent in dehydration agent for natural gas, and aromatics in oil industry.
Diethylene glycol is also used in brake fluid production. It works as greaser. The ethylene glycol used for antifreeze is generally contain some diethylene glycol. It is also used as icing inhibitor in aviation and railroads.
Safety Measures and Toxicity
Diethylene glycol is toxic for humans. It may cause several health problems, including death, if swallowed or inhaled. Although experiments indicate that is has moderate toxicity on animals, researches indicate that its toxic effect on humans is larger than that of animals. While it is not scientifically proven, its lethal dose is 1-1,5 gr/kg and toxic dose is 0,14 gr/kg. Depending on exposure period, it may serious injuries in stomach, liver, kidneys and heart. In higher concentrations, it greatly damages neural system and results in death.
For these reasons, it must be stored and studied within proper safety measures. It may become flammable in high temperatures.