By Dr. Mercola
Diacetyl is an artificial flavor that’s most well known for adding a buttery taste to microwave popcorn. Its been linked to respiratory damage, including inflammation and permanent scarring of the airways, dubbed “popcorn lung,” in workers at a microwave popcorn plant.1
If you smoke e-cigarettes, there’s a good chance you’re doing so in order to reduce your health risks compared to smoking tobacco cigarettes. But, you should know that even e-cigarettes come with risks, including exposure to the “popcorn lung” chemical diacetyl and other chemicals with every puff.
‘Popcorn Lung’ Flavoring Chemical Found Widely in E-Cigarettes
There are over 7,000 e-cigarette flavors on the market, and Harvard researchers recently selected 51 of them to determine their contents. The flavors chosen were specifically selected for testing because they were deemed to be appealing to youth.
Nearly all of the flavors (47 out of 51) contained flavoring chemicals. Diacetyl, for instance, was detected in 39 of the 51 flavors tested.
Simply avoiding “buttery” sounding flavors is not enough if you’re looking to avoid it, as the chemical was also detected in fruit-flavored, alcohol-flavored, and candy-flavored e-cigarettes.
Other chemicals, including acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione (also known as acetylpropionyl), which are chemically similar to diacetyl, were found in 46 of the products tested. The researchers noted in Environmental Health Perspectives:2
“Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans, and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.”
Earlier this year, separate research detected diacetyl or propionyl in 74 percent of the sweet e-cigarette liquids tested.3
Among those that contained diacetyl, close to half would expose e-cigarette users to levels that exceed workplace limits designed to protect workers from the chemical’s hazardous effects.4
Further, reading labels of e-cigarette flavors cannot
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