Lots of questions still linger about e-cigarettes, including just what you’re breathing in when you vape but a new study has found toxic levels of metals, including lead, in e-cigarette vapours.
New study findings show that the vapours from a variety of e-cigarettes devices contain potentially toxic levels of metals, including lead. This new study is a follow up on the research conducted in 2017 that detected metals in e-liquids used in the devices.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers recruited 56 daily e-cigarette users and studied the vapours they give off. They devised a relatively simple system that collects the aerosol or what people call the vapours.
The vapours were collected almost as soon as it came out of the e-cigarette. It was discovered that a significant number of the devices emitted vapors with potentially unsafe levels of lead, chromium, manganese and/or nickel.
Almost half of the samples tested in the research exceeded the limits set by the environmental protection agency (EPA). This research happens to be the first the actually shows that the concentrations in the aerosol that people are inhaling are actually comparable to limits that are health-based limits.
Additional research that were based on the same 56 vapours found levels of nickel and chromium in people’s urine and saliva related to levels measured in the vapours and this helped to confirm that users of e-cigarettes were exposed to the metals.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that use a metal coil to heat up liquid nicotine and convert it into a mist, or vapour, that users inhale. There are about 600 different kinds you can buy online and as many as 8,000 different types of liquids available.
The researchers from Johns Hopkins also tested for the presence of metals in e-liquid refilling dispensers and in the remaining liquid in the e-cigarette tanks. Their intention was to check, baring in mind that many metals are toxic when inhaled.
The metals they discovered, when regularly inhaled, have been linked to lung, liver, immune, cardiovascular, and brain damage, and cancer.
How Are the Metals Getting Into the Vapor?
Some of the metals may enter the vapour through their contact with the metal coil, but that didn’t explain the presence of lead, because coils don’t contain lead and there is absolutely no reason for lead to be in there.
It’s possible that metals are in the flavours that are added to some liquids, or that contamination comes from the materials used in the containers that hold the liquids, but the researchers are of the opinion that more research needs to be conducted to prove or disapprove of this assertion.
Another small study published online in Environmental Health Perspectives, brings home a couple of important points, chief among which is you don’t know what you’re inhaling. The contents vary and is based upon the liquid, the heating element, and what you may be inhaling in the vapour.
You may want to lay off the e-cigarettes until the regulatory agencies are able to standardise and put through testing the liquids, the heating elements, and the vapours to show that they are safe.