A LEADING doctor has poured cold water on a report which claims e-cigarette users are inhaling significant amounts of lead and toxic metals.
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, a research fellow and cardiologist who has published over 50 studies and articles on smoking, tobacco harm and e-cigarettes, has questioned the findings by John Hopkins University which claimed dangerous levels of toxins – including lead, chromium and arsenic – are being inhaled by vapers.
The study published last week triggered a wealth of media reports, which went on to claim absorbing toxic metals could be linked to heart and brain damage.
But Dr Farsalinos says having looked at the research by the American university the level of metals actually found in the body were so low that in some cases you would have to vape more than 100ml of vape juice a day (with 15ml being an amount used by a heavy vaper per day) to exceed the limits set by the US Food and Drugs Administration.
Dr Farsalinos said: “The “significant amount” of metals the authors reported they found were measured in ug/kg. In fact they are so low that for some cases (chromium and lead) I calculated that you need to vape more than 100 ml per day in order to exceed the FDA limits for daily intake from inhalational medications.”
Researchers at John Hopkins University had examined the health effects of the heating coils that power e-cigarettes in its new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives by testing the smokeless devices of 56 people who vaped daily.
While it found the levels of metals in the dispensers – where the e-liquid is kept before it is heated – were nominal and of little concern, the report claimed that when the liquid reached the tank, where it was exposed to the heating coil, levels spiked significantly, with the vapor reading “high” levels of lead, chromium, nickel and manganese.
“These were median levels only,” senior study author Dr Ana María Rule explained. “The actual levels of these metals varied greatly from sample to sample, and often were much higher than safe limits.”
“It’s important for the FDA, the e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as currently made, seem to be leaking toxic metals, which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale,” Dr Rule added.
“We’ve established with this study that there are exposures to these metals, which is the first step, but we need also to determine the actual health effects,'”she added.
While Dr Farsalinos doesn’t deny the vapers are exposed to certain metals through using e-cigarettes, the amounts are so small, he questions if they would have any real health implications.
He added of the research report: “The authors once again confuse themselves and everyone else by using environmental safety limits related to exposure with every single breath, and apply them to vaping.
“However, humans take more than 17,000 (thousand) breaths per day but only 400-600 puffs per day from an e-cigarette.”