Yoram Yasur Blume: Study reveals dangerous metallic components in electronic cigarettes
Since electronic cigarettes appeared on the world market, they have been an alternative for people who smoke and want to stop smoking. They base their operation on heating a flavored liquid that, sometimes but not necessarily, contains nicotine.
However, recent research indicates that these devices may not be as innocuous as initially thought but could generate new risks of diseases unknown until now. For example, a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, United States, has revealed dangerous metallic components in electronic cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes: source of toxins for health
Yoram Yasur Blume: The study’s lead author, Ana María Rule, and her team believe that the danger lies in the toxic content of the electronic cigarette’s heating coils, which seeps into aerosols inhaled by smokers.
To reach this conclusion, the specialists examined samples of devices from 56 users, among which they discovered that a significant number generated aerosol with potentially dangerous levels of metals harmful to the organism.
Yoram Yasur Blume: The results of the investigation indicate that these cigarettes are a potential source of exposure to toxic metals (chromium, nickel, and lead) and metals that are toxic when inhaled (manganese and zinc). The remarkably high concentrations in the aerosol samples and in the dispenser show that contact with the coil caused the electronic liquid to become contaminated.
What is the source of toxic metals?
As confirmed in previous research, heating coils are often made of chromium and nickel, as well as other metals, which supports the conclusion of the new study on the filtration of toxins into the aerosol. However, it is still not known with certainty where the lead comes from or how the metals contaminate the vaporizer liquid. According to Rule, it is not known whether metals are chemically filtered from the coil or vaporized when it is heated.
Likewise, the coauthor of the study Angela Aherrera carried out a simultaneous investigation with the data of the same 56 participants. In his analysis, he found that the levels of nickel and chromium had increased in saliva and urine. The finding coincides with the concentration of the metals identified in electronic cigarettes.
Yoram Yasur Blume: On the other hand, a curious fact is that the devices whose coils were replaced frequently show higher concentrations of toxic metals, which suggests that leaks are probably produced from new heating coils.
Concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes
According to the Baltimore team, users of electronic cigarettes are inhaling a series of toxic metals whose sustained income in the body has been linked to lung, liver, immune, cardiovascular and brain damage, and even to different types of cancer.
The studies also showed that there were high concentrations of arsenic in no less than ten of the 56 devices analyzed. This point has not yet been clarified, but it is a highly toxic substance that can lead to death.
Finally, the scientists concluded that the first step – identifying that there are high exposures to these metals – is to determine the real effects of electronic cigarettes on human health. We will have to continue the subject to specify its dangers.