ATLANTA — Chemical Insights, an Institute of Underwriters Laboratories, and Georgia State University’s School of Public Health have started a research initiative on the harmful effects of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), known as “vaping” and e-cigarettes.
The research collaboration will characterize airborne particulate aerosols and volatile organic chemicals released during e-cigarette use and determine human exposure levels and toxicity for users and bystanders.
“With a focus on public health and safety benefits, our research findings will identify specific particles and chemicals that infiltrate the lungs of a user so that steps can be taken to reduce human health risks,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor with Chemical Insights.
The use of vapes or e-cigarettes among adolescents and young adults has increased in the United States over the last decade, with an estimated 3.6 million U.S. youths using e-cigarettes in 2020. One contributing factor is the perception that ENDS are a safer alternative to cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products. However, a series of studies have proven pulmonary toxicity in e-cigarettes and a link to negative impacts on adolescents’ respiratory health. ENDS lags in product safety testing for numerous proprietary liquids and aerosol delivery methods available in the expanding marketplace.
Recognizing this gap in research knowledge, Chemical Insights assembled a team of researchers and technical facilities to collect more data and draw more insights. Combining Underwriters Laboratories’ specialized human exposure chambers with the expertise of Georgia State’s public health researchers will allow the team to conduct exposure studies, characterize the physiochemical aerosols and measure biological activity and genotoxicity of the ENDS aerosols.
“This study will provide scientifically sound data to inform policy makers, healthcare providers, manufacturers and consumers of potential health risks and approaches for product usage and label warnings to educate consumers of potential respiratory hazards,” said Dr. Roby Greenwald, assistant professor in the School of Public Health and co-principal investigator of the study. “We’re looking at multiple liquids and aerosol delivery methods that are readily available to better understand toxicity and their impact on human health.”
Research findings will begin to be released in fall 2021.
Dr. Roby Greenwald
Assistant Professor of Environmental Health
Department of Population Health Sciences
Dr. Greenwald’s research interests are measuring the ways in which air pollution influences human health, and much of his work involves the development of unique sampling systems for assessing exposure to air pollution in special microenvironments such as inside vehicles while commuting.