What Is Propyl Gallate?

What Is Propyl Gallate?

Artificial additives get a lot of negative attention among health advocates, while antioxidants are praised for their beneficial qualities. What additives are antioxidants? Propyl gallate is one of these, and is subject to a wide range of products ranging from food, cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals
Importance
Manufacturers add propylgallate to foods, including vegetable oil, mayonnaise, meat, soup, milk powder, spices, candy, snack foods, vitamins and chewing gum. Propyl gallate is also a common additive to feed. The personal care industry adds propylgallate to perfumes, soaps, lotions and creams, lipstick and other makeup, hair care products, toiletries, sunscreen and toothpaste. In addition, the substance is added to adhesives and lubricants.
Function
Propyl gallate prevents oxidation and thus keep fats and oils from deteriorating or becoming rancid. Besides causing food spoilage, oxidation in personal care products can cause color change, thickness and structural changes, and breakdown of the active ingredients.
Identification
The chemical name for propyl gallate is propyl 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoate, and it is the n-propyl ester of gallic acid. It is a crystalline powder which can be white, creamy white or pale brown. One of many common synthetic preservatives, it is listed by the US Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe. “This means qualified experts know their safety under conditions of its intended use, and the drug did not have a pre-market review or approval.
Warning
Propyl gallate can cause some negative side effects such as stomach irritation, skin irritation and allergic reactions that constrict breathing. It can also lead to extra sensitive skin. People who have asthma, allergy to aspirin, or liver or kidney problems should avoid propyl gallate as much as possible.
Consideration
In extensive laboratory research on propyl gallate, scientists have found in rats only when raising levels to 70 to 200 times the approved amount. Side effects are rare. Laboratory studies even found indication of any beneficial effects of propyl gallate, such as in cancer, birth defects and tooth cavity, which the researchers speculate is due to the antioxidant properties. But two other antioxidants such as propyl gallate is often combined with, butylhydroxyanisole and butylhydroxytoluene, had questionable results in some studies. Some European and Asian countries have severely limited the use of BHA and BHT as food additives or banned them altogether. Yet, all three additives accepted as safe by most countries.

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