Dr. Pepper is chemically Atni-Freeze!

When listing ingredients of Dr. Pepper, Uncle Cecil says “Apparently in
Canada lactic acid is sometimes listed on the can, as well as polyethylene
glycol. …I guess polyethylene glycol could be one of those mystic spices.”

Well, polyethylene glycol is more than a spice. I remember the pastor of my church saying during a sermon that ethylene glycol is in Dr. Pepper AND is also used in anti-freezes such as Prestone. So I
looked it up in Webster’s Dictionary, and sure enough, he was right.

To quote Webster’s:
Main Entry: ethylene glycol
Function: noun
Date: 1901
: a thick liquid diol C2H6O2 used especially as an antifreeze and in making
polyester fibers.

Let’s hope the ethylene glycol is not toxic and is used purely to lower the
freezing point of Dr. Pepper. Otherwise the lifespans of Dr. Pepper drinkers
are shrinking every day!

Thanks for your post. This was actually a mailbag answer that I wrote, and - flattered that I am that you confuse me with Cecil - this should probably be posted on the Mailbag Answers board. But no big deal.
Auntie Jill

Years ago, there was a great scandal in Europe about wine makers illegally putting glycols in their products as sweeteners. IIRC, there was no health risk involved; it’s just forbidden to artificially sweeten your wine.

I’ve found that anti-freeze actually tastes a lot better than Dr Pepper.

Ethelyne Glycol is extremly toxic and leathal. It will give a nice intoxicated sensation then you will pass out and never wake up.

Kinross is right-ethylene glycol is incredibly toxic. In fact, I believe that most brands of antifreeze no longer use ethylene glycol for environmental reasons. Also, there used to be large problems with pets getting into the glycol (because I guess it’s somewhat sweet) and dying.

Polyethylene glycol or more accurately poly(ethylene glycol) is somewhat different. It is a polymer made from ethylene glycol units. It is a very water-soluble, viscous polymer that has many applications (I guess one of them is to thicken Dr.P). As far as I know, it is tasteless, but I’ve never tried it myself. It also must be used in small quantities or else the beverage would be a solid mass of goo because polyethylene glycol is very thick.

Mmmmmm. Dr. Pepper. It’s about the only soft drink I can still stomach nowadays.


Just a little curious so the conclusion of this thread is that Dr. Pepper is not going to cause me anymore bodily harm than Coke because it has polyethylene glycol in it?
I happen to like DP very much and am mildly concerned.

here kitty, kitty
Come out, come out where ever you are. :slight_smile:

First Rule of Science - never trust a minister for cold, hard, chemical truths.

Ethylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol are not the same thing. Yes, they both contain ethene (C2H4) molecules bound to hydrogen and oxygen. However, there is where the similarity ends. Much as H2O is water and H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide, the addition of a single molecule changes the entire property of the resulting compound.

A single ethylene molecule bound to two hydroxide ions (if I am interpreting correctly - it’s been a while since I played in serious chemistry) forms glycol, aka ethylene glycol, aka anti-freeze. It is highly toxic and acts by causing kidney failure.

POLYethylene glycol is just what it sounds like - (poly=many) more than one ethylene molecule bound together in chains by hydroxide pairs. The version used in food is usually polyethylene glycol-600, a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid. It is classified as a non-ionic surfactant and is used as a thickener and an emulsifier. You can drink the stuff straight and it won’t kill you, except the effects are akin to drinking detergent and you’ll probably toss your cookies.

Hope this clears things up a touch.

If nothing else, this topic explains why I don’t get cold in the winter.

Never drank Dr. Pepper (other than to sample and reach this conclusion) because the combination of caramel and some sort of bitters always reminded me too much of Fletcher’s Castoria, which my mother used to give me as a child. Glad to know there’s other reasons to dislike the stuff!

bcjammin: I’m really curious. Just how did Dr. Pepper and anti-freeze come up in the sermon? Did your pastor run out of things to talk about or something?

Let me refer to bcjammin’s post:

“To quote Webster’s:
Main Entry: ethylene glycol
Function: noun
Date: 1901
: a thick liquid diol C2H6O2 used especially as an antifreeze and in making
polyester fibers.”

Though I abandoned Dr. Pepper years ago, preferring the bouquet and finish of Thunderbird and the unadulterated rush brought on by two fingers of Sterno, I did drink copious quantities of The Doctor during the 70s. I can attest to this: my system never froze up in the winter or overheated in the summer . . . and my closet was loaded with polyester leisure suits.

Coincidence? I think not.

Historical note: the toxicity of ethylene glycol was one of the factors that led to the Pure Food and Drug Act around the turn of the century. A patent medicine vendor hired a chemist to make a liquid form of the then revolutionary sulfa drug. Finding that the sweet-tasting ehtylene glycol dissolved the drug successfuly, the vendor then marketed it as Elixir of Sulfa, resulting in several deaths. It is the sweet taste of ethylene glycol (somewhat reminiscent of glycerine) that led to many child poisonings and prompted the addition of unpleasant tasting stuff to anti-freeze as a deterent.

For “robathome” there is a even better example in the present context of “what a difference an atom makes”: Propylene glycol, which adds just one carbon (with its two hydrogens) to ethylene glycol is also a sweet-tasting liquid that is used to make non-toxic anti-freeze. In the body, propylene glycol is metabolized to form (among other things) acetic acid, a/k/a vinegar.