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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Study Reports Flavorings Cause Lung Damage

A just published study reports 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 pose a health risk.

The Harvard Gazette reported that, "Diacetyl, a flavoring chemical linked to cases of severe respiratory disease, was found in more than 75 percent of flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids tested by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


Background: There are over 7,000 e-cigarette flavors currently marketed. Flavoring chemicals gained notoriety in the early 2000’s 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: 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 39 of the 51 flavors tested, ranging from < limit of qualification (LOQ) 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: Due to the associations between diacetyl, 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. 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; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510185

Received: 7 May 2015
Accepted: 9 November 2015
Advance Publication: 8 December 2015
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We are currently reviewing potential claims arising out of flavoring and fragrance exposures. Click here for more information.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.