Uzbekistan’s health ministry has recently claimed India-made cough syrups contained ethylene glycol which led to the death of at least 18 children.

 

What is ethylene glycol?

  • Ethylene glycol is a colourless and odourless alcoholic compound that can be fatal if consumed.
  • The sweet-tasting ethylene glycol is a syrupy or viscous liquid at room temperature.
  • It is mostly used as an automotive antifreeze and as a raw material for manufacturing polyester fibres.
  • It is also found in several products such as hydraulic brake fluids, stamp pad inks, ballpoint pens, solvents, paints, cosmetics and plastics.
  • Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are adulterants that are sometimes illegally used as solvents in liquid drugs.
    • Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol may be used by pharma companies as an alternative to non-toxic solvents such as glycerine or propylene glycol to cut costs.
  • The ingestion of ethylene glycol can cause severe health effects. Central nervous system depression, nausea, vomiting, intoxication, euphoria, stupor, respiratory depression, and reduced excretion of urine can occur due to ethylene glycol intoxication.