One of the biggest vaping stories of February involved a new study claiming to find dangerous levels of toxic metals in used e-liquids. Environmental Health Perspectives published the study, titled Metal Concentrations in E-Cigarette Liquid and Aerosol Samples: The Contribution of Metallic Coils, which theorized coils in e-cigarettes were the culprits. The mainstream media latched onto this story, claiming everyone was vaping toxic metals, but scientists are now questioning the legitimacy of the research.
Are You Vaping Toxic Metals?
The first doctor to question the findings was Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos. Faraslinos is famous for doing “replication studies” to see if he can recreate a study’s results. Farsalinos hasn’t finished his replication study for this paper, but he has concluded that the results are highly misleading. “The ‘significant amount’ of metals the authors reported they found were measured in ug/kg. In fact, they are so low that for some cases (chromium and lead) I calculated that you need to vape more than 100 ml per day in order to exceed the FDA limits for daily intake from inhalation medications.”
Farsalinos isn’t the only doctor challenging the findings, though. Now Dr. David Dawit has joined in, calling the study “fraught with methodological flaws.”
To be fair, Dawit does work for Eosscientific, a company that does a lot of work testing e-liquids. While some might find that to be a conflict of interest, there’s no denying that Dawit is intimately familiar with the science behind vaping. He may be one of the most qualified individuals to speak on the validity of this particular study.
Dawit echoed Farsalinos’s views about the issues with the study’s methodology. He also added that the researchers failed to create a replicable study and neglected to validate their method.
“The cardinal principles for all analytical work include Replication and Validation, these were not done. In any scientific experiment, if you cannot replicate your results with a similar set of experimental conditions you have insufficient evidence to say that they are valid. If you haven’t validated your method there is no way of knowing if it is fit for purpose.”
What have we learned?
The lesson here? Question all studies – and don’t believe everything you read. Further protect yourself by selecting your e-cigarette devices from trusted, high quality manufacturers.