Toxic heavy metals Discovered in Vape Pens Before Heating, Posing a Potential Danger to Users


A recent study has discovered nano-sized toxic metal particles present in cannabis vape liquids even prior to their heating. These unregulated products were found to contain elevated levels of heavy metals such as lead, nickel, zinc, and copper. Further investigation is required to assess the extent to which these metal particles are released into the vapor that users inhale.

The contamination appears to be more pronounced in unregulated products, indicating that the source of metal contamination may originate from the manufacturing of the vaping device itself, rather than from the heating of coils. However, the quality of the device may exacerbate the contamination upon heating, according to Zuzana Gajdosechova, PhD, a researcher at the Metrology Research Centre of the National Research Council of Canada.

These findings were presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 19, although they have not yet undergone peer-reviewed publication.

While vaping cannabis is often perceived as a safer alternative to smoking due to the lack of combustion, it is not without risks. Research indicates that metal components in vaping devices, including the heating coil, may release metal particles into the liquid when heated. Although most studies on this phenomenon have focused on nicotine-based vaping devices, cannabis vape devices are structurally similar and may also contribute to metal leaching.

The study involved analyzing 41 cannabis vape liquid samples, including 20 legal, regulated samples obtained from licensed cannabis stores and 21 samples from the illegal market provided by law enforcement. Using mass spectrometry and visual confirmation through techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, researchers identified the presence of 12 metals in the vape liquids, even in cartridges that had never been used and were less than six months old.

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