Uses and Properties

The Propylene Oxide & Glycols Sector Group – PO & Glycols – (PO-PG) is a trade association bringing together the European manufacturers of propylene oxide.

Propylene oxide is used as a monomer in polymer production and as an intermediate in the synthesis of other substances. It is also used as a chemical intermediate for the manufacture of:

  • Polyols used in polyurethane foam manufacture for the furniture and automotive industries, and coatings, adhesives and sealants
  • Propylene glycol ethers for use as solvents in paints, inks, coatings, resins, cleaners and waxes
  • Butanediol and related products for speciality resins and solvents
  • Propylene glycols, which can be used in:
    • the production of unsaturated polyester resins, especially in the construction, transportation, automotive and marine industries
    • as a solvent in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
    • in engine coolants and aircraft de-icers

Issues and Regulations

REACH Implementation

A “Propylene Oxide & Glycols” was formed through which manufacturers have joined efforts to prepare by 30 November 2010 consistent registration dossiers covering propylene oxide and glycols.
Consortium Management: ReachCentrum.


The Sector Group is pro-actively managing regulatory and environmental responsibilities on the industry:

  • Health: SCOEL / Occupational Exposure Limits, Classification issues
  • Environment: CO2 emissions (benchmarks), Industrial Emissions Directive (BREF)

Specific Issues

  • Exchange non-confidential safety information about the production, distribution and handling of propylene oxide.
  • Promoting the standing of the propylene oxide and propylene glycols industry in a socially responsible manner.
  • Informing consumers and those involved in the handling of the products on its properties and functionality.
  • Encouraging the safe and proper use of propylene oxide and propylene glycols by developing and publishing appropriate technical information.
  • Maintaining a high level of technical understanding by identifying and managing research into health and environmental effects and assessing risks in use.
  • Organising and funding toxicology research projects, in collaboration with other Industry associations where appropriate.
  • Presenting a positive image of propylene oxide and propylene glycols to the industry, authorities and the public.
  • Developing a common position on major issues of the industry for presentation to regulators, opinion leaders and other concerned bodies.
  • Developing product stewardship programmes following the Responsible Care principles.

Additional Information

  • Guidelines for the Distribution of Propylene Oxide, Revision 5 (2023) Guidelines for the distribution of PO Safe Handling Guidelines Reviewed 2023
  • Guidelines for the Handling and Distribution Propylene Glycol USP/EP (pharmaceutical grade monopropylene glycol) revision 2.2, May 2013 (USP/EP) available in EN, DE, FR, ITES
  • Environment friendly couplings for Propylene Oxide Transportation Equipment. Download.
  • Website dedicated to production, main uses and health and safety aspects of propylene glycol.