A new study shows popular e-cigarette products are contaminated with bacterial and fungal toxins exposure to which have been associated with lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and COPD. According to an NBC news report, the study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that dozens of popular e-cigarette products are contaminated with these toxins that can cause lung disease. The impurities were found in nearly a quarter of single-use e-cigarette cartridges and in over three-quarters of e-liquids.
Harmful Toxins Cause Lung Disease
Authors of the study say the discovery of toxins in e-cigarette products adds to the growing concerns regarding the safety of e-cigarettes. Researchers examined 75 popular e-cigarette products — 37 single-use cartridges and 38 e-liquids from 10 top-selling U.S. brands. They found that 23 percent contained traces of endotoxin, a potent inflammatory molecule found in bacteria. And 61 out of 75 products, 81 percent, contained traces of glucan, a toxic substance found in the cell walls of most fungi.
Exposure to these toxins has been associated with a number of health problems including lung disease. The study also found that the concentrations of endotoxins were elevated in fruit-flavored products, indicating that the raw materials used in the production of those flavors might be a source of contamination. Researchers say the contamination could have occurred during or after the production of the ingredients. The researchers also say that potential exposure of e-cigarette users to harmful toxins only strengthens the argument for stronger e-cigarette regulation.
Youth Use of E-Cigarettes
The use of e-cigarettes has been steadily increasing in recent years, especially among high school and middle school students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than three million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, which is an increase from 220,000 in 2011. The CDC also found a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette use by teens from 2017 to 2018.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took several steps recently to address the issue of youth e-cigarette use. Studies have also found that many teens who vape are not aware that they are inhaling nicotine. They are also inhaling carcinogens similar to those found in combustible tobacco products. And popular fruity flavors, which are being marketed to our youth, appear to be the most harmful.
Our product defect attorneys have long been concerned about the adverse health effects of e-cigarettes and the danger e-cigarette batteries pose in terms of fires and explosions. There is no question that these products need to be regulated at the earliest to prevent serious injuries and illnesses.