Several studies have outlined the dangers of using electronic cigarettes and how they are not as safe as most people assume. A new research has shown that these devices may even leak heavy metals, some of which are known to be highly toxic.
A good number of people have switched to electronic cigarettes ever since they were released in the market due to the claim of them being safer in comparison with smoking the usual cigarettes.
How do these devices work? They contain a flavored liquid that can sometimes also have nicotine in it. The liquid is heated up which leads to the release of vapors or aerosols.
Electronic-cigarettes are also commonly referred to vapes because of this and using it is called vaping instead of smoking. The people who used them are then known as vapers instead of smokers.
Although a lot of people now believe that using these devices will not bring any harm, recent studies have shown that using e-cigarettes may bring new and complicated health conditions.
It has been observed that using electronic-cigarettes can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer and another newly published study highlighted that some of the flavored liquids used in the devices are particularly toxic.
The research was conducted by senior author Ana Maria Rule and colleagues from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The researchers concluded that smoking e-cigarettes are harmful specifically due to the heating coils. According to Rule, the heating coils leak toxic metals which manage to get into the aerosols that the vapers inhale.
In a study conducted previously by Rule and a team of researchers, a series of toxic metals in electronic-cigarettes such as chromium, manganese, cadmium, lead, and nickel was identified.
The new research used this information and went further by testing the used electronic-cigarettes of the people to understand how they can be possibly exposed to the metals and how high is the risk of that happening.
The researchers recruited and observed 56 participants who used their electronic-cigarettes on a daily basis.
The participants’ electronic-cigarettes were also observed to confirm the presence of fifteen metals in the refilling dispensers, the vapors caused by the heating of the liquid, and the vaping liquids.
The presence of toxic metals in the e-liquids from refilling dispensers was confirmed although they were present in small concentrations whereas the scenario in the tank-filling solutions that had been heated by the coils was different.
These e-liquids had a much greater concentration of the toxic heavy metals which – in accordance with the researchers – may suggest that the solutions themselves are not the source of these substances.
Instead, the team stated that the occurrence of toxic heavy metals may be due to the inbuilt coils. The heavy metals were also found in the aerosols produced by the e-liquids containing them.
The most dangerous metals that the researchers were more worried about were nickel, lead, manganese, and chromium as they have been linked to many health risks including brain damage, cancer, and respiratory system issues.
In the aerosols released by the e-cigarettes, the concentration of the lead alone was around 15 micrograms per kilogram. About 48 percent of the vapors tested had concentrations that were greatly above the limit suggested by Environmental Protection Agency.
Previous studies have shown that the inbuilt heating coils are made up of chromium, nickel, and other substances. This supports the claim that the source of the toxic metals in the e-liquids was the coils.
However, the researchers are still not sure about where the liquids come from and how do the metals contaminate the liquids in the electronic cigarettes.
Another interesting thing that the scientists noticed were that the toxic metals traces were seen to be higher in concentration in the vapors if the heating coils were replaced time and again.