Safety and MSDS
PEG are non-toxic and physiologically safe so no special safety precautions need to be taken when handling them. For many applications, particularly in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and foodstuffs packging, the physiological safety of PEG is important. When administered orally and cutaneously they are to be rated as non-toxic. The vapour pressure of PEG is so low that inhalation of relevant amounts is impossible. Because of their good physiological tolerability PEG were first included in the US pharmacopoeia already in 1950. Since then they have been listed in numerous pharmacopoeias. The tolerability of PEG in animals improves as the degree of polymerization rises. PEG have no toxic or irritant effect on the skin. Because of low toxicity it was not possible to establish an exact LD50 resulting from skin penetration.
The behaviour of PEG in effluent is a matter of crucial importance, e.g. in their industrial use in the textile sector and in metal processing. The rate of biodegradation of PEG decreases with increasing molar mass. PEG up to molar mass 1500 are regarded as readily biodegrad able (Zahn-Wellens test). The microbiological degradation of other substances is not inhibited by the presence of PEG. The toxic inhibition limit for bacteria in the fermentation tube test is 5000 mg/l. Investigations within our own labs have shown that even in concentrations of 10000 mg/kg (1%) polyethylene glycols have no adverse effect on fish (crucian carp). Polyethylene glycols in concentration up to 10000 mg/l exhibit no harmful effect of any kind towards daphnia and protozoa. The German water hazard class is WGK 1.
Any PEG to be disposed of waste can be taken, in accordance with the local regulations, to a special waste incineration plant. None of PEG, in concentrations up to 10,000 mg/l water, demonstrates an acute harmful effect on fish or bacteria.
Please contact us for safety and regulatory details or the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).