Like other alcohols, including the infamous methanol, ethylene glycol depresses the central nervous system, and the strongest acidosis caused by its biochemical transformation and accumulation of oxalate, incapacitates the kidneys, which determines the high mortality rate in poisoning with this substance.
Ethylene glycol is infinitely soluble in water, and its aqueous solutions, due to the specifics of the physical and chemical interaction of solvent and solute molecules, have a freezing temperature of up to -70ᵒC. These remarkable properties, combined with the relative cheapness of the chemical production of ethylene glycol and its homologue diethylene glycol, cause the mass use of these toxic compounds as the basis for liquid antifreeze. Ethylene glycol solutions are familiar to any motorist living in high latitudes as low-temperature glass-breaking liquid. In aviation, antifreeze based on ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol are known as de-icing liquids (DIL), which are used for aircraft treatment before flight. The consumption of antifreeze when mechanical applying DIL to the surface of the aircraft body is extremely high, which causes severe contamination of airports and surrounding areas with ethylene glycol. Due to their high water solubility, glycols (ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol) are easily transported by surface watercourses to local catchments. Measuring the content of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol in natural and waste waters is a necessary component of environmental monitoring of our ecosystem, designed to minimize industrial pollution of territories and water areas. Currently, attempts are being made to replace ethylene glycol with non-toxic agents with a similar freezing point of aqueous solutions, but a strong increase in the cost of working fluids prevents the rejection of the "classic" compound.
The measurement of mass concentrations of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol in natural and waste water is part of accreditation area of our laboratory. Analysis (research) of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol in natural and waste waters is carried out by gas chromatography method. We strive to combine the most relevant, modern and complex areas of analytical chemistry within the walls of our organization.