Formaldehyde – Again. All the good links in one place
Verified: formaldehyde levels found in the NEJM study were associated with dry puff conditions. An update
An Update from Dr Farsalinos:
As mentioned in my previous comment about the formaldehyde study published in NEJM, it is very important to identify which atomizer was used and what energy levels (watts) were applied to the atomizer in order to understand whether the findings were associated with overheating. As I calculated, based on the consumption reported by the authors, I considered 3.3 volts as being about 7 watts and 5 volts being 14-16 watts. It seems that I was pretty close.
The deception of measuring formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosol: the difference between laboratory measurements and true exposure
A new trend is emerging in the e-cigarette research community of obtaining a variable voltage/wattage device, applying high energy to an atomizer and measuring aldehydes (mostly formaldehyde) released to the aerosol (vapor). The story started early last year, continued recently with a story from Japan, and is now followed by a letter published in New England Journal of Medicine.
This time, researchers obtained a variable voltage device, and applied 3.3 and 5.0 volts to an (unnamed) atomizer for 4 seconds per puff. At 3.3 volts they found no formaldehyde, while at 5.0 volts they found formaldehyde levels up to 15 times higher than in tobacco cigarette smoke. But there are major problems in this study……
Tom Pruen – ECITA
In fact, given that the primary source of formaldehyde is combustion, it is surprising that levels from a non-combustion source such as e-cigs can exceed that from a combustive product such as cigarettes. While thermal degradation of propylene glycol to produce formaldehyde is known to occur, it is highly temperature dependent, and other components of the mix also thermally degrade at high temperature (280ºC), notably producing acroleinii, another unpleasant and unpalatable irritant. The emissions of this test are not likely to be what a user would recognise as vapour, but instead a completely unpalatable, burnt, choking mess….
Fergus Mason follows the money-
With the “gateway effect” dead in the water formaldehyde has become the new cause du jour of the anti-vaping nuts. The latest assault has been launched through the letters page of a major US medical journal. Let’s look at the facts…
Beki Jane puts science to the test
I’m not going into the science behind the debunking of the letter to the NEMJ. For an overview see Vapemestoopid on the subject and then read Dr. Farsalinos debunking the whole study. Meanwhile Clive Bates has something to say, as does Prof. Hajek. The ruthless fact checking of Tom Pruen is always worth a read and Fergus Mason writes on the whole fiasco here.
From Brad Rodu
Modern automobiles have remarkably low pollutant emissions, but anyone behind a car that is overheating or otherwise abused can smell noxious fumes as they are released. Using the New England Journal of Medicine, Jensen and colleagues have created global headlines with a defective e-cigarette experiment, producing scientific pollution…
Daily Mail article finishes with Peter Hajek:
Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said the study did not reflect real-world conditions.
“In e-cigarette use by humans, overheating the liquid generates acrid tasting ‘dry puff’ which is unpleasant and avoided rather than slowly inhaled,” said Hajek, who was not involved in the study.
“When a chicken is burned, the resulting black crisp will contain carcinogens but that does not mean that chicken are carcinogenic,” he added.
“Vaping may not be as safe as breathing clear mountain air, but it is much safer than smoking. It would be a shame if this study persuaded smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking and contemplate vaping that they might as well stick to their deadly cigarettes.”
Clive Bates original pre-preemptive strike:
Another alarmist and deeply misleading story about formaldehyde and e-cigarettes has now emerged in the New England Journal of Medicine: Hidden Formaldehyde in E-cigarette Aerosols. I have written to the corresponding authors, and I would like to share my open letter….
The Original report:
E-cigarette liquids are typically solutions of propylene glycol, glycerol, or both,plus nicotine and flavorant chemicals. We have observed that formaldehyde-containing hemiacetals, shown by others to be entities that are detectable by means of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be formed during the e-cigarette “vaping” process…