Chia Poh Ling*, Yong Y.L, Dr C. Lim, Lim Chin Chin
62nd AAFS Annual Meeting, Seattle, USA, Feb 22-27, (poster presentation)
The Medical Device Branch (Health Product Regulation Group) of Health Sciences Authority was first alerted to the possible presence of ethylene glycol in hot/cold packs due to a case of accidental poisoning in Australia whereby a young child chewed through the plastic packaging of a pack and consumed its content which contains the toxic ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is harmful or fatal if swallowed. It may cause allergic skin reactions and can be harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Extended exposure over a period of time, if the compound is heated, may lead to pulmonary edema and central nervous system depression. As a result, the Medical Device Branch acquired 14 types of the Hot/Cold packs from the local markets and submitted the packs to the laboratory for analysis.
The hot/cold packs were analyzed by fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy, raman spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Of the 14 types of hot/cold packs analyzed, 5 of them were found to contain the toxic ethylene glycol while the other 9 types contained either, propylene glycol, glycerol, sodium acetate or water plus either a polyacrylamide or polyacrylate type polymer. All 5 of them were of the same brand. The qualitative analysis of the hot/cold packs and the quantitative analysis of ethylene glycol in these packs will be presented in the poster.