|MadSci Network: Science History|
Antifreeze - Ethylene Glycol (CAS 107-21-1) Ethylene Glycol became of commercial interest during World War I, when was used a substitute fro glycerol in the manufacture of explosives.. During the early days of the automobile,cars would heat up and boil over in the summer and drivers had to carry water with them. In the winter the water had to be drained from the radiator and the engin to prevent it from freezing and cracking the block. The car was put up on blocks in the garage until spring. The use of Ethylene Glycol as an anti freeze and heat transfer medium solved both problems. Health Effects: If Ethylene Glycol is ingested it can cause death or serious central nervous system and kidney damage. It is transformed in the body to Oxalic Acid which forms crystals in the kidneys. Children and animals will drink antifreeze because it tastes sweet. Environmental Impacts: in 1997 1, 275 facilities released 11,692,223 pounds of Ethylene Glycol into the environment. Fortunately this compound is not likely to exist in large amounts in air it breaks down within 24, to 50 hours, in soil and water it breaks down in several days to a week. Pollution Prevention: See the following web site for information on pollution prevention for Vehicle Maintenance - Antifreeze. Http;//www.oneplan.state.id.us/waste.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Science History.