KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — Scientists have found lung-damaging bacterial toxins in electronic cigarettes, the kind of substances usually discovered in waste-incineration plants.
The Telegraph reported that a Harvard University investigation found that more than one in four of e-cigarettes had bugs known to cause asthma, inflammation, and reduced lung function.
Sweet fruity flavours were most likely to carry the toxins.
The Harvard team reportedly found that 27 percent of 75 popular e-cigarette products it examined contained traces of endotoxin, a microbial agent in industrial and agricultural settings, while 81 percent had traces of glucan that exists in most fungi.
“Airborne Gram-negative bacterial endotoxin and fungal-derived glucans have been shown to cause acute and chronic respiratory effects in occupational and environmental settings.
“Finding these toxins in e-cigarette products adds to the growing concerns about the potential for adverse respiratory effects in users,” the study’s senior author Professor David Christiani was quoted saying.
Glucan concentrations were reportedly much higher in tobacco and menthol-flavoured products than in fruit-flavoured ones, but the latter reportedly had higher concentrations of endotoxin.
The research team reportedly believed that raw materials used to produce flavours in e-cigarettes could be a source of microbial contamination.
For e-cigarettes using single-use cartridges, cotton wicks were believed to be the most likely source of contamination as both endotoxin and glucan were known contaminants of cotton fibres.