Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors'

"These studies have also found a large variance in exposure levels among the users tested, which indicates harm can be significantly reduced with the use of quality products", Chowdhery said.

More research is planned to determine possible health effects.

Many recent studies have questioned the safety of electronic cigarettes.

So, the team began a new project studying the latest devices, called Mods, as well as the aerosol inhaled by smokers. Some of these have shown that certain flavors - particularly the sweet ones popular with teenagers - contain toxins that can damage white blood cells and raise cancer risks. Working with participants' devices, which they brought to the researchers' lab at the Bloomberg School, the scientists tested for the presence of 15 metals in the e-liquids in the vapers' refilling dispensers, the e-liquids in their coil-containing e-cigarette tanks and in the generated aerosols. "The FDA should assess whether e-cigarettes help to reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, and the impact of marketing of e-cigarettes on consumer perceptions and behavior", the ACS added in its statement.

The aerosol is created after an electric current produced by a battery passes through a metal coil, which then heats nicotine-based liquids. How arsenic got into these e-liquids is yet another mystery. There was not a significant amount of toxic metals in the e-cig liquid itself. Smalls amounts of some toxic metals were found in the liquids before use, but much higher levels were detected after the liquids had been exposed to the devices' heating coils.

But most worrisome were the types and quantities of metals found in the vapor that the e-cigarette-users were liberally puffing on every day. In all seriousness, the study concluded that e-cigarettes might be exposing people to toxic metals and carcinogens, including chromium, lead, and arsenic. The Environmental Protection Agency said that nearly 50 percent of aerosol samples had lead concentrations higher than health-based limits.

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'These were median levels only, ' says senior study author Dr Ana María Rule.

So what's causing the high toxin levels?

It can stay dormant in teeth and bones, and be reactivated during pregnancy, seeping into the blood where it can reach and poison a developing fetus with the potential to cause significant brain damage.

Ana María Rule, PhD, MHS, the senior author of the study was quoted in the press release stating: "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".

The study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives by researchers from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, sampled 56 vape devices.

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