E-cigarettes: Study finds toxic metals including arsenic, lead in vapors

  • E-cigarettes: Study finds toxic metals including arsenic, lead in vapors

E-cigarettes: Study finds toxic metals including arsenic, lead in vapors

New study findings show that the vapors from a variety of devices contain potentially toxic levels of metals, including lead. A large number of the devices were found to produce aerosols with potentially unsafe levels of lead, as well as other metals such as chromium, manganese and nickel. The researchers, however, did find that fresh coils in e-cigarettes generate higher levels of aerosol metal concentrations.

The measure of lead found in the aerosols produced by the devices was, in some cases, more than 25 times greater than in the refill dispensers.

In the study, the scientists examined e-cigarette devices owned by a sample of 56 users.

For the study, 56 daily e-cigarette users from vaping conventions and e-cigarette shops around Baltimore participated. Scientists showed that the difference in the concentration of toxic metals between refilling dispensers and aerosol had nearly certainly come from the coils, which are typically made up of nickel, chromium and few other metals. But in over half of the e-cigs, the liquid inside the dispenser and the aerosol contained significant levels of chromium, nickel, and lead.

"It is important that the companies that develop the E-cigs and the consumers know that these heating metal coils give off toxic metals that are filling the vapor that is inhaled", said Ana Maria Rule, a researcher specialized in air pollution at the John Hopkins University and one of the study authors. Inhalation of these metals can result in problems with the lung, liver, cardiovascular, brain damage, and even cancers. In E-cigarettes, an electric current passes through a metal coil to heat "e-liquids", creating an aerosol vapor.

E-cigarettes often considered a safer alternative option to smoking tobacco, may not be so safe.

The Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes but is still considering how to do so.

The source of the lead isn't known, although e-cigarette heating coils typically contain nickel and chromium, among other elements.

Many recent studies have questioned the safety of electronic cigarettes.

They found that significant numbers had risky levels of the toxins leaking into their vapour.

The FDA does not now regulate e-cigarettes but has the authority to do so, the study authors noted. How the arsenic got into these e-liquids is yet another mystery-and another potential focus for regulators.

"We don't know yet whether metals are chemically leaching from the coil or vaporizing when it's heated", Rule said.

The next step for Rule and her team is to expand their research and understand the effect of these toxic metals on people. The study comes on the heels of research out a year ago that detected metals in e-liquids used in the devices.

In any case, a bombshell report released in 2015 suggested that vapor from e-cigarettes damaged and killed human cells amid lab tests.