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Scientists do not know much about the long-term effects of vaporizers, the liquid used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. However, researchers who analyze the liquid and vapor generated by heating say that some types of e-liquids on shelves react to irritating chemicals called acetals.
More than 3 million young people and some adults use e-cigarettes, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of them could inhale these compounds on a regular basis. According to Yale and Duke University researchers, this could irritate or even damage the lungs.
The study, published Tuesday, specifically looked at eight flavors of Juul E-Liquids that contain a different mix of solvents than many other brands of e-liquids. These new findings build on similar work by the working group on other brands of e-liquids published in October 2018.
Acetals are formed from alcohol and aldehydes, chemicals used to flavor and perfume foods and other commercial products. Some are considered harmful, but many are generally considered safe to eat and touch, says Hanno Erythropel, lead author of the study and associate scientist in Yale's Chemical and Environmental Department.
Little is known about the effects of erythropoies, adding that aldehydes and acetals, when inhaled in this way, can irritate the airways more than the aldehydes from which they were formed. And this irritation can trigger an inflammatory reaction in the respiratory tract.
Unlike small amounts of acetals that you get through your food, Erythropel says with Vaping, "You breathe in. We did not imagine people inhaling flavorings. We have very little information."
At this point, the FDA does not require e-liquid manufacturers to submit or list all ingredients in their products. Yale's chemists had to "reverse engineer" e-liquids by separating and quantifying their chemical ingredients.
In this way, the researchers were able to prove the presence of acetals in one of the eight Juul flavors tested: crème brûlée. This aroma, which vanillin uses for a vanilla-like odor, contains relatively large amounts of vanillin acetal, according to scientists. Other flavors could also contain acetals and aldehydes, they say, but they have not tested all sorts of aldehydes in this study.
Julie Zimmerman, Principal Investigator of the Study and Professor at Yale's Chemical and Environmental Division, stresses that much research needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn on the safety of e-liquids. This research needed to consider the possibility of chemical reactions between different chemical constituents of e-liquids that could lead to altered products.
Dr. Robert Jackler, a Stanford professor of otorhinolaryngology who has studied the rapid growth of e-cigarettes at a young age, says the paper "is contributing to an increasing body of evidence supporting the toxicological effects of E Specifically testing the sweet and fruity flavors of JUUL, which are so popular with teenagers. "Erythropel is cautious to note, however, that any flavored product can contain aldehydes – even a generic tobacco-flavored product.
Dr. Christina Sadreameli, assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and pediatric pulmonary physician. Sadreameli says that e-cigarette manufacturers have for a long time positioned steaming as a far safer alternative to cigarettes with little health impact.
But "this term [that] it's just water vapor and nicotine and aromas," is very untrue, "she says." E-cigarette vapors contain many harmful chemicals, heavy metals [and] ultrafine particles. "
The discovery of acetals in e-liquids, she says, "is another reason to worry about what's in the vapor aerosol and how that can harm the developing lung.
Asked about the study's findings, Lindsay Andrews, a Juul spokesman, said acetate levels, which the researchers considered harmful, exceeded the "real" exposures of Juul pods, according to Andrews, probably someone would need seven or more E-liquid capsules a day to reach the threshold considered by researchers to be harmful
Little is known about the long-term effects of evaporation, but some health issues have surfaced to the surface Wisconsin Children's Hospital announced that eight teenagers with "severely damaged lungs" had been hospitalized in July.
Symptoms that led to their hospitalization included "shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath" "Weight Loss" so the hospital. Although all teenagers improved with treatment and the exact cause of their symptoms remained unknown, everyone reported that they had evaporated in the weeks and months prior to hospitalization.
Zimmerman, Erythropel and her colleagues hope to carry out further studies on the health effects of inhaling acetals. But it will likely take many years for health professionals to better understand the full consequences of inhaling and vaporizing acetal, says Jackler.
"Adolescents learning the habit of daily use of e-cigarettes driven by nicotine addiction may well suffer from health effects over time," says the doctor. "This means that for decades we will not know how the e-cigarette epidemic will affect teenagers."
Susie Neilson is an intern at the Science Desk of NPR. Follow her on Twitter here: @susieneilson.