The researchers who published an article three years ago about the presence of previously undiscovered forms of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor revisited their research and found that formaldehyde risks were even higher than they originally thought
The 2015 study by PSU chemistry professors David Peyton, Robert Strongin, James Pankow and others revealed that e-cigarette vapor could contain the new forms of formaldehyde at levels five to 15 times higher than the formaldehyde in regular cigarettes. The chemicals were detected when the vaping device used in their experiments was set at the high end of its heat settings.
Formaldehyde is a highly toxic systemic poison that is absorbed well by inhalation. The vapor is a severe respiratory tract and skin irritant and may cause dizziness or suffocation. Skin Protection: Chemical-protective clothing is recommended because formaldehyde can cause skin irritation and burns
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Unlike gaseous formaldehyde, the newly discovered compounds are bound to particulates in the e-cigarette aerosols, enabling them to be deposited more deeply in the lungs than gaseous formaldehyde.
People who smoke high-voltage e-cigarettes have greater exposure to formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen, than those who keep the voltage low, according to the previous studies.
The 2015 study drew criticism from e-cigarette advocates, who said that the high settings would produce an unpleasant taste and therefore would be avoided by the vast majority of people who use e-cigarettes.
Detection of formaldehyde compounds
In their new study, published in Scientific Reports, Peyton and Strongin found that both gaseous formaldehyde and the new formaldehyde compounds were detectable at levels above OSHA workplace limits even when e-cigarettes were operated at lower, more commonly used heat settings. Strongin said this raises concerns about the overall risks of e-cigarette use.
"In 2016, more than 9 million Americans were current e-cigarette users, including more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students," he said. "It thus concerns if even a minority of users cannot properly control the e-cigarette-derived intake of formaldehyde and related toxins."