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Article

An Unrecognized Hazard in E-Cigarette Vapor: Preliminary Quantification of Methylglyoxal Formation from Propylene Glycol in E-Cigarettes

1
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2
Occupational & Environmental Health Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020385
Received: 28 October 2020 / Revised: 26 December 2020 / Accepted: 27 December 2020 / Published: 6 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Toxicology and Public Health)
Up to 95% of the liquid volume in an e-cigarette consists of propylene glycol. Previous research has shown that propylene glycol can generate diacetyl and formaldehyde when heated. New research shows that propylene glycol can also generate methylglyoxal, an alpha di-carbonyl compound recently shown to cause epithelial necrosis at even lower concentrations than diacetyl, the flavoring chemical associated with bronchiolitis obliterans (“Popcorn Lung”). We analyzed chemical emissions from 13 JUUL pod flavors. Diacetyl and methylglyoxal was detected in 100% of samples with median concentration (range) of 20 µg/m3 (less than limit of quantification: 54 µg/m3) and 4219 µg/m3 (677–15,342 µg/m3), respectively. We also detected acetaldehyde (median concentration: 341 µg/m3) and propionaldehyde (median concentration: 87 µg/m3) in all samples. The recent evidence that methylglyoxal is more cytotoxic to airway epithelial cells than diacetyl makes this an urgent public health concern. Current smokers considering e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool, and never users, who may be under the impression that e-cigarettes are harmless, need information on emissions and potential risks to make informed decisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-cigarette; hazardous exposure; methylglyoxal; propylene glycol e-cigarette; hazardous exposure; methylglyoxal; propylene glycol
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MDPI and ACS Style

Azimi, P.; Keshavarz, Z.; Lahaie Luna, M.; Cedeno Laurent, J.G.; Vallarino, J.; Christiani, D.C.; Allen, J.G. An Unrecognized Hazard in E-Cigarette Vapor: Preliminary Quantification of Methylglyoxal Formation from Propylene Glycol in E-Cigarettes. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020385

AMA Style

Azimi P, Keshavarz Z, Lahaie Luna M, Cedeno Laurent JG, Vallarino J, Christiani DC, Allen JG. An Unrecognized Hazard in E-Cigarette Vapor: Preliminary Quantification of Methylglyoxal Formation from Propylene Glycol in E-Cigarettes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(2):385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020385

Chicago/Turabian Style

Azimi, Parham, Zahra Keshavarz, Marianne Lahaie Luna, Jose G. Cedeno Laurent, Jose Vallarino, David C. Christiani, and Joseph G. Allen 2021. "An Unrecognized Hazard in E-Cigarette Vapor: Preliminary Quantification of Methylglyoxal Formation from Propylene Glycol in E-Cigarettes" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 2: 385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020385

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