Chia Poh Ling*, Yong Y.L, Pan X.H, Lim T.B, Lim Chin Chin
Separation Science seminar, Singapore, 28 August 2009.
The recent accidental poisoning of a child by ingestion of the contents of a commercial hot/cold pack which contained toxic ethylene glycol in Australia led to the investigation of various types of hot/cold packs and related baby products available in Singapore. 15 types of hot/cold packs, 8 types of baby teethers/gum soothers, 6 types of gel pads, and one ice pillow were analyzed by GC-MS, FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy, polarized light microscopy and SEM/EDX. Of the 15 types of hot/cold packs analyzed, 6 of them were found to contain the toxic ethylene glycol, while the other 9 types contained either propylene glycol, glycerin, aqueous sodium acetate or water plus either a polyacrylamide or polyacrylate type polymer. The 8 types of teethers/gum soothers investigated were found to contain either propylene glycol, water, aqueous sodium chloride solution or an aqueous solution of the potassium salt of hexadienoic acid. The 6 types of gel pads analyzed contain either glycerin or a mixture of glycerin with a small amount of propylene glycol. Water, sodium chloride and a polyacrylate type polymer were present in the ice pillow analyzed. The results of this investigation led to the recall of the ethylene glycol containing hot/cold packs from the market.