Science Daily posted an article titled ‘Hazardous Chemicals Discovered in Flavored E-Cigarette Vapor’ on November 10, 2016. The source of the information came from Desert Research Institute, a company, “Building on more than 30 years of air quality research.” The idea was to look for, “unidentified effects of vaping on human health”. Science Daily turned to a newly released study in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society, on aerosol toxicity in e-cigarette vapor.
Andrey Khylstov, Ph.D., an associate research professor of atmospheric sciences at DRI stated the following, “How these flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of the vapor that e-cigarettes produce is practically unknown. Our results show that production of toxic aldehydes is exponentially dependent on the concentration of flavoring compounds.”
Khylstov also reported flavored e-cigarette liquid contained dangerous levels of toxic, cancerous causing chemicals in his study ‘Flavoring compounds dominate toxic aldehyde production during e-cigarette vaping’. The study is saying that when e-juice is rapidly heated, through a process called pyrolysis, dangerous levels of formaldehyde are created, based on the amount of flavoring found in the e-juice. Given this article mentions the CDC statistics for high school and middle school e-cigarette use, this information is extremely important for parents across the U.S. and abroad.
Khylstov gives a blanket statement by saying that the flavoring compounds create dangerous levels of formaldehyde, especially given the way the study was conducted. A controlled sampling system was used to simulate the most common vaping conditions. The e-cigarettes were manually powered to simulate common vaping scenarios. The sample vapor released was then collected and tested. To maintain consistency, each device was powered for four seconds, using 40 ml puffs, with 30-second delays in between each.
When priming your mod, or simply pressing the button without inhaling, you will create very hot vapor. Inhale when you press the button and the heat drops considerably. In order for pyrolysis to take place, the e-juice in your coils would need to be under pressure and heated to over 330°F. At what temperature were these e-cigarettes being heated to created pyrolysis? What within the e-cigarette would cause pressure to create pyrolysis?
To educate and inform the public, in an effort to help them make an informed decision on vaping, we must ask questions. To simply say vaping causes pyrolysis, which creates dangerous levels of formaldehyde, which cause cancer, is misleading. Especially when there are foods that we eat every day that naturally contain varying low levels of formaldehyde. Not only that, but formaldehyde is naturally produced in the body to aid in digestion. The key phrase in this study however, is ‘dangerous levels’.
Part of the FDA decision for its deeming regulations on vaping, is the lack of scientific evidence showing either short, or long-term health effects on humans. To read the study as it is, would give consumers the idea that vaping would be harmful, due to the dangerous levels of formaldehyde created through vaping. Although, the way the study was conducted does not accurately replicate common vaping scenarios.
To simply state that hazardous chemicals were discovered in e-cigarettes is incorrect, as pyrolysis, as stated by the study, only occurs with certain flavored e-juice and at extreme temperatures. So, this study does not pertain to vaping as a whole. The information in this study is only valid in certain instances, not in typical day-to-day vaping. We need to provide the public with studies that include accurate and pertinent information to allow consumers to make a truly informed decision on vaping, either one way or the other.
Desert Research Institute. (2016, November 10). Hazardous chemicals discovered in flavored e-cigarette vapor: Scientists stress need for thorough research into flavored e-liquids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161110085644.htm