Chemical Flavorings In E-Cigarettes May Increase Risk Of Lung Disease

First Posted: Dec 08, 2015 07:47 PM EST

A chemical found in certain flavored e-cigarettes may increase the risk of lung problems, according to a recent study.

Researchers looked at 51 different types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids from prominent vendors--specifically looking for those with a high respiratory risk, including diacetyl, acetoin and 23-pentanedione, according to TIME.

"At least one flavoring chemical was detected in 47 of 51 unique flavors tested. Diacetyl was detected above the laboratory limit of detection 39 of the 51 flavors tested," researchers said, according to NBC news.

Findings showed that the chemical diacetyl, found in various types of candy-flavored e-cigarettes and also known as the butter compound found in many types of microwaveable popcorn, could increase the risk of bronchiolitis obliterans or "Popcorn Lung." However, researchers noted that ingesting diacetyl is not considered dangerous at this time.

"Recognition of the hazards associated with inhaling flavoring chemicals started with 'Popcorn Lung' over a decade ago," said Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and one of the lead authors on the report. "However, diacetyl and other related flavoring chemicals are used in many other flavors beyond butter-flavored popcorn, including fruit flavors, alcohol flavors, and, we learned in our study, candy flavored e-cigarettes."

Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare by lethal form of non-reversible obstructive lung disease. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath and/or dry cough.

The study is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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