A new Harvard study analyzed 75 e-cigarette products including 37 single-use e-cigarettes and 38 vape juices from 10 top selling brands in the U.S. Researchers analyzed four flavor categories: fruit, menthol, tobacco, and “other”, which included candy, cereal, and miscellaneous flavors.
Are the toxins in e-cigarettes dangerous? While the lead author of the Harvard study, Mi-Sun Lee, did note that there was no scientific evidence to conclude that levels of endotoxin and glucan they observed in e-liquids and closed system e-cigarettes were raising health concerns — the research team did conclude that their findings warranted further study — especially as government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, work to regulate e-cigarettes.
The researchers discovered that 81% of e-cigarette products contained traces of glucan, a sometimes toxic substance found in the cell walls of most fungi as well as yeasts. And 23% of the products contained traces of endotoxin, a potent inflammatory molecule found in bacteria. Exposure to these microbial toxins has been associated with health and respiratory problems ranging from asthma and inflammation to reduced lung function.
The researchers did not discover the source of the impurities and toxins in e-cigarettes, and stated that they could have come from any point during or after manufacturing process. The authors of the study hypothesized that the cotton wicks used in many e-cigarettes could be one potential source of contamination — because both endotoxin and glucan are known to be impurities of cotton fibers. The study also found that endotoxins were higher in fruit-flavored products than other flavors, but researchers did not discover why this might be true. Endotoxins and glucan, as well as numerous other toxins and contaminants, are also found in significant amounts in traditional cigarette smoke.
While more study is needed to determine if these findings present a real issue for vapers, we have no doubt the mainstream media will run this news with inflammatory headlines designed to terrify the masses.
Soupwire brings you the latest in vaping research, news, and vape reviews.