BOSTON (CBS) – A Harvard University study of e-cigarettes found that many contain bacterial and fungal toxins.
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at 75 popular electronic cigarette products, including cartridges and e-liquids, sold in the United States. In 27% they found endotoxin, and 81% percent had glucan.
Those toxins have been linked to health problems that include asthma, reduced lung function and inflammation.
“Airborne Gram-negative bacterial endotoxin and fungal-derived glucans have been shown to cause acute and chronic respiratory effects in occupational and environmental settings,” said professor David Christiani, the senior author of the study, in a statement. “Finding these toxins in e-cigarette products adds to the growing concerns about the potential for adverse respiratory effects in users.”
Evidence indicates that the raw materials used to make fruit-flavored products could be a source of microbial contamination.
The study notes that an estimated 3 million high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2018, up from just 220,000 in 2011.