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Center for Environmental Health’s study found high levels of cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarettes (CEH)

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The national nonprofit health watchdog Center for Environmental Health (CEH) today issued a press release on the results of their study which found that the majority of 97 e-cigarettes and other “vaping” products tested produced high levels of the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in violation of California safety standards. These two chemicals are also linked to genetic damage, birth defects, and reduced fertility.

The CEH report entitled “A Smoking Gun: Cancer Causing Chemicals in E-cigarettes,” outlines the first-ever large sampling of actual e-cigarettes and vaping products tested simulating real-world use of the products, and demonstrating that the majority of e-cigarettes tested pose a serious cancer risk.

CEH’s independent lab tested 97 products from two dozen e-cigarette makers, and products tested included RJ Reynolds (Vuse brand e-cigarettes), Imperial Tobacco/ITG Brands (blu brand), NJoy and other major companies.

Between February and July 2015, CEH purchased e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and other vaping products from major retailers including RiteAid, 7-Eleven, and from many online retailers and San Francisco Bay Area vape shops. CEH then commissioned an independent lab accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation to test 97 products, including 15 disposable “cigalikes” e-cigarettes, 32 cartridge devices, and 50 refillable devices, for formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The lab used standard smoking machines that simulate how consumers use the products.The findings are:

  • 90% of the companies (21 of 24 companies) had at least one product that produced high levels of one or both chemicals at more than ten times the California state safety standard limit.
  • In all, the majority of the products tested (50 of the 97 products) showed high levels of one or both of the cancer-causing chemicals, in excess of the California standards.
  • 7 products produced one of the chemicals at more than 100 times the state safety standard level.
  • 1 e-cigarette found the level of formaldehyde was more than 470 times higher than the state safety standard level.
  • 1 nicotine-free product produced acetaldehyde at more than 13 times the state legal safety threshold and formaldehyde at more than 74 times the threshold.

 CEH is initiating legal action against the companies producing the cancer-causing products for failing to warn consumers, as required under California’s strong consumer protection law known as Proposition 65. This follows CEH’s legal action earlier this year against e-cigarette makers for failing to warn consumers about risks from nicotine in e-cigarettes.

Read CEH’s full report, A Smoking Gun: Cancer Causing Chemicals in E-cigarettes.