Vaping? You could be inhaling lead and arsenic, a new study says

E-cigarette vapor has tested positive for lead and arsenic

E-cigarette vapor has tested positive for lead and

Scientists at John Hopkins University have found there's lead, arsenic, chromium, manganese, and nickel in the vapor of modifiable vaping devices.

Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the research was based on tests conducted on the e-liquid from the refilling dispenser (before contact with the device and the heating coil), e-liquid in the device itself (in contact with the heating coil), and the generated aerosol (inhaled by the user).

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied the e-cigarettes of 56 individuals and almost half of them produced aerosol samples containing unsafe levels of lead in them.

The study is the latest to suggest that smoking e-cigarettes is not entirely benign and that they carry their own body-damaging risks despite being significantly less harmful than smoking actual cigarettes. They went on to show that the metals can then end up in the aerosols, i.e. the vapor, from the heated e-liquid. Newer versions however, allow daily users opt for reusable modified devices that allow them to refill the e-liquid from a dispenser.

Inhalation of these metals has been linked to lung, liver, immune, cardiovascular and brain damage, and even cancers.

Although the study was small, the authors say its findings are important and warrant evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to the potential health consequences of exposure to these metals.

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The culprits, the scientists think, are the heating coils that convert the e-liquid into a vapor to be inhaled.

In an earlier study, the researchers also found that e-cigarette users had a high level of nickel and chromium in their urine and saliva, meaning they were exposed to those chemicals from the aerosol. Nearly 50 percent of aerosol samples had lead concentrations higher than health-based limits defined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

They tested whether the e-liquids in the devices' refilling tanks and the aerosol produced contain any toxic metals.

"It's important for the FDA, e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as now made, seem to be leaking toxic metals - which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale", senior study author Ana Maria Rule of the Bloomberg School said, according to USA Today. Rule's team plans further studies.

Support for the research was provided by the Maryland State Cigarette Restitution Fund (PHPA-G2034), the Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation, the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center (1P50HL120163), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (5P30ES009089).

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