Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
E-cigarettes contaminated with dangerous microbial toxins

E-cigarettes contaminated with dangerous microbial toxins

Harvard University researchers have discovered that many popular electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products are contaminated with microbial toxins that are known to cause a range of health problems. The research was published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

E-cigarettes may contain harmful levels of microbial toxins, according to a new study.eldar nurkovic | Shutterstock

The authors warn that the findings indicate that “some popular [e-cigarette] brands and flavors may be contaminated with microbial toxins.”

The toxins identified were endotoxin − a potent toxic molecule found on the membranes of Gram-negative bacteria − and glucan, a polysaccharide that helps to form the cell walls of most species of fungi.

Tobacco smoke from traditional tobacco cigarettes also contains endotoxins and glucans that that contaminate the products at some point during the manufacturing process. Exposure to such toxins is associated with respiratory health problems such as asthma, reduced lung function, and lung inflammation. Furthermore, studies conducted over many decades have demonstrated chronic lung impairment in populations exposed to airborne biological contaminants.

Yet, according to the authors of the current study, no studies have ever explored whether these common microbial agents could also be present in e-cigarette products.

Acute and chronic respiratory effects

Now, Professor of Environmental Genetics, David Christiani, and colleagues have tested 75 popular products from ten leading e-cigarette brands, including 37 single-use cartridges (also called “cigalikes”) and 38 e-liquids (which are used to refill cartridges). All products were purchased online, with the exception of products from one brand, which was bought at a convenience store on the university’s campus.

The products were divided into four different flavors, which included tobacco, menthol, fruit, and other. All products were then tested for the presence of endotoxin and glucan.

As reported today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers found that 17 (23%) of the products contained detectable levels of endotoxin and that 61 (81%) contained traces of glucan.

Further analysis showed that, on average, the cartridges contained 3.2 times more glucan than the refillable e-liquid samples.

On average glucan levels were ten times higher in the tobacco and menthol-flavored products, compared with in the fruit-flavored samples, while endotoxin concentrations were found to be significantly higher in the fruit-flavored products.

Airborne Gram-negative bacterial endotoxin and fungal-derived glucans have been shown to cause acute and chronic respiratory effects in occupational and environmental settings. Finding these toxins in e-cigarette products adds to the growing concerns about the potential for adverse respiratory effects in users.”

Contamination can occur at any stage in the manufacturing process

The authors suggest that the raw materials used to produce ‘fruity’ flavors are a potential source of microbial contamination.

They also note that contamination could be introduced at any stage during the manufacture of the e-cigarette ingredients or in the production of the finished e-cigarette products themselves. One potential source, for example, is the cotton wicks used in the cartridges, since both endotoxins and glucans are known to contaminate cotton fibers.

The use of e-cigarettes has gradually been in creasing over recent years, particularly among high-school age and middle-school age pupils. Estimates suggest that last year, more than three million high school students used the products, a significant increase on the 220,000 students estimated to have used the products in 2011.

Mi-Sun Lee says the new findings should be considered when developing regulatory policies for e-cigarettes:

In addition to inhaling harmful chemicals, e-cig users could also be exposed to biological contaminants like endotoxin and glucan.”

Mi-Sun Lee, Lead Author

Further research is needed

Lee and colleagues note that there are limitations to the study. For example, the team did not test the concertation of toxins that are aerosolized and passed on to the user.

Furthermore, the team only screened for toxins in first-generation devices and not more recently developed products such as tanks, pods or pens. Pods, especially, are known to deliver a higher concentration of nicotine per puff, compared with first-generation devices, yet scientists do not know how this may impact on the degree of exposure to toxins.

Many scientists believe that exposure to environmental toxins is significantly less among people who vape than among those who smoke traditional cigarettes, but that this does not necessarily mean that e-cigarettes products are not damaging to health at all.

Should the government ban e-cigarettes?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence that can conclusively support the hypothesis that the levels of endotoxin and glucan found in e-cigarette products is enough to raise public health concerns.

However, given that exposure to high enough levels of airborne endotoxin does appear to harm the lungs and that the toxins are thought to contribute to the damage that cigarette smoking has on respiratory health, the authors think that further study is needed.

Future research will look at how often the toxins are present in e-cigarette flavors and whether exposure to them through vaping poses and significant health risk, since there may be strategies that could be used to minimize the risk of contamination.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles