Secondhand Smoke from E-Cigarettes Contains Toxic Metals, Researchers Say


Conventional tobacco cigarettes contain thousands of toxic compounds, which are released – into your lungs and the surrounding air – with each puff. By now, most people are aware that standing nearbysomeone smoking a cigarette is not too much better than smoking one yourself, hence the rash of smoking bans that have taken place across the US in recent years.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), on the other hand, are touted as a safer, cleaner alternative to smoking. Yet, most states prohibit their use in most venues that prohibit traditional smoking. Is this warranted? Are e-cigarettes as bad as tobacco cigarettes, including to bystanders?

While certain levels of toxins are reduced in e-cigarettes, research shows that others still exist, in levels found to be “quite high” and potentially dangerous to your health.

E-Cigarettes Release Toxic Metals Into the Air

In a new study by researchers from USC Biterbi, e-cigarettes were found to have 10-fold fewer carcinogenic particles in their vapor relative to smoke from conventional cigarettes.

However, the e-cigarettes emitted higherlevels of certain metals, including nickel, zinc, and silver.1 “Some of these metals are extremely toxic even in very low amounts,” the study’s lead researcher noted,2 adding in a statement:3

“The metal particles likely come from the cartridge of the e-cigarette devices themselves – which opens up the possibility that better manufacturing standards for the devices could reduce the quantity of metals in the smoke.

Studies of this kind are necessary for implementing effective regulatory measures. E-cigarettes are so new, there just isn’t much research available on them yet.”

There have been other studies to detect toxic metals, including nanoparticles, in e-cigarette vapor, however. One study found metals including tin, copper, nickel, and silver, silicate beads, and nanoparticles.4And as in the featured study, in some cases, such as in the case of tin particles, the amounts were greater than you might be exposed to from smoking a conventional cigarette. The researchers concluded:

“Cartomizer aerosol from a leading manufacturer of EC [electronic cigarette] contained metals, silicate beads, and nanoparticles. Poor solder joints appear to have contributed to the presence of tin in the aerosol. In cytotoxicity tests, cartomizer fluid containing tin particles inhibited attachment and survival of hPF [human pulmonary fibroblasts].

Other metals likely came from the wires (copper, nickel, silver) and other metal components used in the cartomizers, while silicate particles appeared to come from the fiberglass wicks.

While the outer fibers filtered out many of the tin particles, significant amounts of tin, other metals, and silicate beads escaped into the aerosol and would result in human exposure, in some cases probably greater than a conventional cigarette user would experience.

The effects of toxic metal exposures can range from subtle symptoms to serious diseases. Since metals build up in your body over time, symptoms may be attributed to other causes and people often don’t realize they have been affected by metals until it’s too late. Further, once metals build up in your body they can cause irreversible damage.

Cancer-Causing Chemicals Also Found in E-Cigarettes

One in five current smokers have tried electronic cigarettes,5 likely unaware that they, like regular cigarettes, may contain cancer-causing toxins. In case you’re wondering how, exactly, they work, when you take a puff of an e-cigarette a battery heats up a liquid.

That liquid contains a flavoring (such as tobacco, menthol, cherry, vanilla, or java), a humectant (typically propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin) and, sometimes, nicotine.

As you inhale, you get a “dose” of flavored nicotine without the chemicals typically produced from burning tobacco. That being said, you’re still getting a dose of chemicals.

To date, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has detected a potentially deadly antifreeze chemical called diethylene glycol in an electronic cigarette cartridge,6 along with tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.

According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), secondhand e-cigarette aerosol contains at least 10 chemicals identified on California’s Proposition 65 list of carcinogens and reproductive toxins, listed in the table below.7


Written by Dr. Mercola
Read more at Mercola

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