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Vaporized propylene glycol kills airborne pneumococci and other microbes, says study

Since the recent discovery of a potentially deadly lung disorder associated with the vaping of contraband THC-containing cartridges, many vapers are beginning to ask, “What’s in my vape?” The e-liquids used in over-the-counter e-cigs like Blu, pod-style products like JUUL, and hi-tech mods like SMOK or Innokin are made from only three primary ingredients –vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and of course flavorings.

Vegetable glycerin is fairly easy to research.  It’s a very common, FDA-approved sweetener used in thousands of everyday foods found in the local grocery store.  Cake mixes, ice creams, and baked goods usually list vegetable glycol very high on their product labels. But what is propylene glycol, and is it safe to vape? 

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Propylene glycol, or PG for short, is another type of sweetener often used in flavored teas, cake frostings, and the entire Entenmann’s pastry line.  It’s also FDA-approved and safe for human consumption.

But here’s what many people don’t know.  Vaporized propylene glycol kills many types of disease-causing bacteria like pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, and even the influenza virus. 

What’s even more remarkable is that scientists have know about this for nearly 80 years – well before the first mass-produced pod-mod ever made its way into the mouth of an adolescent.

Vaporized propylene glycol even kills bacteria in saliva

Back in the 1940s, a young scientist by the name of Dr. Theodore Puck loved to study history in his spare time.  He was particularly fascinated by the stories of the Black Plague in fourteenth century London. 

From a scientific perspective, Puck always wondered what caused the plague to stop spreading.  History says that it was only after the townspeople burned the city to the ground that the devastating event was finally over, but Puck always wanted to discover the true, underlying cause. 

His theory was that there must have been some sort of chemical reaction occurring in the ashen air of the burning city of London that somehow killed the airborne bacteria spreading the disease.  So, Puck began experimenting with various chemicals when he eventually stumbled upon the miraculous health benefits of vaporized propylene glycol.  One of his most significant studies is entitled The Bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on microorganisms suspended in air (NLB-NIH). 

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Dr. Puck discovered that when this compound is heated to only a mere 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it become vaporized.  And strangely coincidental, in the actual public research Puck even specifically references “patients with active respiratory disease.”

“The action of propylene glycol on partially desiccated bacterial droplets such as one might expect to be present in the neighborhood of coughing or sneezing patients with active respiratory disease, was tested as follows. Several kinds of bacteria, pneumococcus, hemolytic streptococcus Group A and hemolytic streptococcus Group C were suspended in fresh unsterile saliva and sprayed into the experimental room. In each instance a period of time ranging from 35 to 40 minutes was allowed to elapse before introduction of the glycolvapor…
“It was found that immediately after vaporization of the glycol, a sharp decrease in number or complete disappearance of these microorganisms which had been suspended in the air for 35 to 40 minutes occurred. One experiment in which the glycol was introduced 40 minutes following the bacterial spray is shown in Table VI. These experiments also revealed the fact that all the various forms of bacteria present in normal saliva were killed by the glycol.”

Dr. Puck would eventually become a world-class scientist of the highest caliber.  Of course, he had no way of knowing at the time that his research would eventually lead to the invention of a new product that would literally save millions of people from smoking-related death and disease.  In 2015, his own country’s Royal College of Physicians would publish research together with Public Health England which indicates vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking.

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