Vaping? You could be inhaling lead and arsenic, a new study says

Vaping? You could be inhaling lead and arsenic, a new study says

A new study is raising concerns about e-cigarettes after several toxic metals were found in the vapors users inhale. Chronic inhalation of these metals has been linked to lung, liver, immune, cardiovascular and brain damage, and even cancers.

Senior author Ana Rule, from the school's department for environmental health, said: "It's important for the FDA, the e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as now made, seem to be leaking toxic metals, which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale".

Typically, e-liquid in the dispensers has an insignificant amount of metal in it. Scientists found that while the liquids contained small traces of the metals, the aerosol became toxic once the liquid was heated by a battery-powered metal coil.

In 2016, more than 2 million middle and high school students said they had used an e-cigarette in the last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and among older teens and young adults, at least 40 percent of e-cig users said they had never been been regular cigarette smokers before starting.

Rule and her colleagues, including lead author Pablo Olmedo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School at the time of the study, recruited 56 daily e-cigarette users from vaping conventions and e-cigarette shops around Baltimore in autumn 2015. The researchers then asked to test the levels of toxic metals in the users' e-liquid before it had been put into the device, the e-liquid in the storage tank of the device, and in the vapor that came out of the device.

After testing for the presence of 15 metals, researchers found significant levels of highly toxic arsenic in 10 of the samples. Well, the researchers are almost certain that it's the metal coil used to heat the liquid. Most important, the scientists showed that the metal contamination carried over to the aerosols produced by heating the e-liquids.

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"These were median levels only", Rule says.

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that uses a liquid that may contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavourings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients. They are probably the sources of metal contamination, although the source of the lead remains a mystery.

Strangely enough, the metal concentrations in the aerosols studied were higher for e-cigarette devices that had their coils changed frequently, leading to the conclusion that, the newer the coil, the more it potentially leeched metals. An earlier study had indicated that the flavorings in e-cigarettes could damage heart muscle.

The Food and Drug Administration has authority to regulate e-cigarettes, but is still considering how to do so, the researchers say. How the arsenic got into these e-liquids is yet another mystery-and another potential focus for regulators.

E-cigarettes contain a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and then inhaled.

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