Toxicity assessment of refill liquids for electronic cigarettes

In this study, the authors analysed 42 models from 14 brands of refill liquids for e-cigarettes for the presence of micro-organisms, diethylene glycol, ethylene glycol, hydrocarbons, ethanol, aldehydes, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and solvents. All the liquids under scrutiny complied with norms for the absence of yeast, mould, aerobic microbes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Diethylene glycol, ethylene glycol and ethanol were detected, but remained within limits authorised for food and pharmaceutical products. Terpenic compounds and aldehydes were found in the products, in particular formaldehyde and acrolein. No sample contained nitrosamines at levels above the limit of detection (1 ?g/g). Residual solvents such as 1,3-butadiene, cyclohexane and acetone, to name a few, were found in some products. None of the products under scrutiny were totally exempt of potentially toxic compounds. However, for products other than nicotine, the oral acute toxicity of the e-liquids tested seems to be of minor concern. However, a minority of liquids, especially those with flavourings, showed particularly high ranges of chemicals, causing concerns about their potential toxicity in case of chronic oral exposure.

Authors: Varlet V, Farsalinos K, Augsburger M, Thomas A, Etter JF. ;Full Source: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health. 2015 Apr 30;12(5):4796-815. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120504796. ;