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      Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes

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          Abstract

          Background:

          There are > 7,000 e-cigarette flavors currently marketed. Flavoring chemicals gained notoriety in the early 2000s when inhalation exposure of the flavoring chemical diacetyl was found to be associated with a disease that became known as “popcorn lung.” There has been limited research on flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes.

          Objective:

          We aimed to determine if the flavoring chemical diacetyl and two other high-priority flavoring chemicals, 2,3-pentanedione and acetoin, are present in a convenience sample of flavored e-cigarettes.

          Methods:

          We selected 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes sold by leading e-cigarette brands and flavors we deemed were appealing to youth. E-cigarette contents were fully discharged and the air stream was captured and analyzed for total mass of diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and acetoin, according to OSHA method 1012.

          Results:

          At least one flavoring chemical was detected in 47 of 51 unique flavors tested. Diacetyl was detected above the laboratory limit of detection in 39 of the 51 flavors tested, ranging from below the limit of quantification to 239 μg/e-cigarette. 2,3-Pentanedione and acetoin were detected in 23 and 46 of the 51 flavors tested at concentrations up to 64 and 529 μg/e-cigarette, respectively.

          Conclusion:

          Because of the associations between diacetyl and bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.

          Citation:

          Allen JG, Flanigan SS, LeBlanc M, Vallarino J, MacNaughton P, Stewart JH, Christiani DC. 2016. Flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes: diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and acetoin in a sample of 51 products, including fruit-, candy-, and cocktail-flavored e-cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect 124:733–739; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510185

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          Most cited references 34

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          R: A Language and environmental for statistical computing

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            Is Open Access

            Metal and Silicate Particles Including Nanoparticles Are Present in Electronic Cigarette Cartomizer Fluid and Aerosol

            Background Electronic cigarettes (EC) deliver aerosol by heating fluid containing nicotine. Cartomizer EC combine the fluid chamber and heating element in a single unit. Because EC do not burn tobacco, they may be safer than conventional cigarettes. Their use is rapidly increasing worldwide with little prior testing of their aerosol. Objectives We tested the hypothesis that EC aerosol contains metals derived from various components in EC. Methods Cartomizer contents and aerosols were analyzed using light and electron microscopy, cytotoxicity testing, x-ray microanalysis, particle counting, and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Results The filament, a nickel-chromium wire, was coupled to a thicker copper wire coated with silver. The silver coating was sometimes missing. Four tin solder joints attached the wires to each other and coupled the copper/silver wire to the air tube and mouthpiece. All cartomizers had evidence of use before packaging (burn spots on the fibers and electrophoretic movement of fluid in the fibers). Fibers in two cartomizers had green deposits that contained copper. Centrifugation of the fibers produced large pellets containing tin. Tin particles and tin whiskers were identified in cartridge fluid and outer fibers. Cartomizer fluid with tin particles was cytotoxic in assays using human pulmonary fibroblasts. The aerosol contained particles >1 µm comprised of tin, silver, iron, nickel, aluminum, and silicate and nanoparticles (<100 nm) of tin, chromium and nickel. The concentrations of nine of eleven elements in EC aerosol were higher than or equal to the corresponding concentrations in conventional cigarette smoke. Many of the elements identified in EC aerosol are known to cause respiratory distress and disease. Conclusions The presence of metal and silicate particles in cartomizer aerosol demonstrates the need for improved quality control in EC design and manufacture and studies on how EC aerosol impacts the health of users and bystanders.
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              Hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosols.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health Perspect
                Environ. Health Perspect
                EHP
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                0091-6765
                1552-9924
                8 December 2015
                June 2016
                : 124
                : 6
                : 733-739
                Affiliations
                Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                Author notes
                []Address correspondence to J.G. Allen, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 401 Park Dr., Room 404-L, Boston, MA 02215 USA. Telephone: (617) 384-8475. E-mail: jgallen@ 123456hsph.harvard.edu
                Article
                ehp.1510185
                10.1289/ehp.1510185
                4892929
                26642857

                Publication of EHP lies in the public domain and is therefore without copyright. All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged (for example, “Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives”); pertinent reference information should be provided for the article from which the material was reproduced. Articles from EHP, especially the News section, may contain photographs or illustrations copyrighted by other commercial organizations or individuals that may not be used without obtaining prior approval from the holder of the copyright.

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                Research

                Public health

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