Two Dozen Fall Ill After Drinking Water Contaminated with Propylene Glycol

Some two dozen people got sick after ingesting water contaminated by the chemical propylene glycol at a medical medical facility, Printers Parkway, in Pueblo, Colorado. Both patients and medical personnel were among the afflicted.

Propylene glycol is an additive commonly used in heating systems. Although the Food and Drug Administration has classified it as “generally recognized as safe,”  it can cause nausea and burning of the throat if ingested and it can cause liver and kidney problems or even death if taken in large amounts.

None of those who drank the contaminated water were considered to be seriously ill.  All were treated and released from the hospital on the same day.

The problem was caused by a mechanical contractor, who mistakenly connected the building’s heating system into the water system.

Propylene glycol is a chemical commonly used in heating systems. It is found in many personal care items, like lipstick and lotion, and even some foods and beverages.  It is also a common  ingredient in antifreeze.

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