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Diacetyl e-liquid flavoring ingredient linked to a rare lung disease.

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Upon inhalation, diacetyl can lead to irreversible lung damage. Also known as butanedione, diacteyl is an e-liquid flavoring ingredient in sweet flavored e-liquids. When the e-liquid is vaporized, if it contains diacetyl that is inhaled into the lungs. Diacetyl inhalation is linked to a rare disease called bronchiolitis obliterates, or popcorn-workers lung disease based on workers at a popcorn factory being exposed to vaporized diacetyl, as shown by studies from the the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

According to this March 25, 2015 news article, few e-liquids are recalled for diacetyl as an ingredient since the FDA does not regulate the products.

However, a study published in the September 1, 2014 issue of the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research tested 159 sweet-flavored e-liquids from 36 manufacturers from 7 different countries for diacetyl.  74% of the 159 samples contained the ingredient, with 50% of the such samples exceeding the NIOSH safety limit for worker exposure. The 2014 study was headed by Konstantinos Farsalinos, a leading researcher on e-cigarettes and doctor at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece. “Diacetyl is an avoidable risk because—unlike in smoking where the levels of diacetyl, which are several times higher than what we’ve found in e-cigarettes, are the result of combustion—in e-cigarettes it’s present as an ingredient,” said Farsalinos.

This news article shared that Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration approve diacetyl for consumption only in trace amounts, and it is usually added to foods to give a rich and creamy taste, like to butter.  It is found on the ingredients list of a wide range variety of foods under the obscurity, “Natural and Artificial Flavours.”