Farsalinos rebukes study citing increased toxicities of e-cig vapor

A recent study published in Europe recently raised concerns regarding the possible toxicity levels of e-liquids used in vaping.  The report suggests the potentially harmful presence of fourteen different flavoring chemicals which public health officials typically identify as respiratory irritants.  However, world-class cardiologist Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece, is now debunking the study’s original findings after replicating the testing procedures in his own laboratory.

The dubious research-in-question is published in the European Respiratory JournalIts co-authors note that the evaluated e-liquids contained increased levels of these fourteen compounds whose levels fail to comply with the current e-cigarette regulations of the European Union (EU) under the Tobacco Directive Initiative.

Replicating the vaping study: Chemical levels do not meet legal criteria for ‘toxicity’

While Dr. Farsalinos does not dispute the presence of the individual compounds, his research indicates that their toxicity levels fall far below the minimum, legal threshold of toxicity classification.  The error is due to the researchers’ failure to calculate the related toxicities in relation to the chemical concentrations within the e-liquids themselves. 

To prove his point, Farsalinos duplicated the testing procedures from the original study while focusing more on the maximum concentration levels of each chemical compound per the EU standards for toxicity classification. The goal was to determine whether manufacturers of e-liquids in the EU must now be legally responsible for including warning labels on their related products – a process which is a dictated by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) regulations in Europe. 

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The Farsalinos research team compared the concentrations levels of each chemical compound to the minimum requirements required by the TPD to classify each as “toxic.”  They then conducted the same analysis on a theoretical vape juice comprised of all fourteen chemicals with maximum, legal levels of toxicities.  The results are published in a paper entitled, Toxicity classification of e-cigarette flavouring compounds based on European Union regulation: analysis of findings from a recent study (Harm Reduction Journal).

“There was at least one toxicity classification for all the flavouring chemicals, with the most prevalent classifications related to skin, oral, eye and respiratory toxicities. One chemical (methyl cyclopentenolone) was found at a maximum concentration 150.7% higher than that needed to be classified as toxic. For the rest, the maximum reported concentrations were 71.6 to > 99.9% lower than toxicity concentrations. A liquid containing all flavouring compounds at the maximum concentrations would be classified as toxic for one category only due to the presence of methyl cyclopentenolone; a liquid without methyl cyclopentenolone would have 66.7 to > 99.9% lower.”

Dr. Farsalinos and his team also acknowledge that not all e-liquids are created equal.  Therefore, government regulation is indeed warranted, even though the original vaping study published inaccurate findings.

In another publication co-authored by Dr. Riccardo Polosa just last week, researchers warn of these types of bogus, so-called e-cig studies.  They also warn of vaping studies which focus on the testing of e-liquids, in general, because the primary focus of any vaping study should be on the resulting toxicity levels of the vapor rather than the juice.  In the Polosa-led paper published in the medical journal Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, the scientists warn that “the relevance of data obtained from direct e-liquid exposures, instead of aerosol exposures, is questionable.”

(Image courtesy of Regulator Watch)

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