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E-cigarettes may contain chemicals linked to lung disease

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Staff writer ▼ | December 10, 2015
Many electronic cigarettes contain flavoring chemicals that may cause lung disease, a new study shows.
New tobacco   A team from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston
A team from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston tested 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids. The investigators found that 47 (more than 75 percent) of them contained diacetyl.

The chemical has been linked to a severe lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as "popcorn lung" because it was first diagnosed in workers who inhaled artificial-butter flavoring in factories making microwave popcorn.

Two other related flavoring chemicals that may pose a lung hazard were also found in many of the flavored e-cigarettes and liquids tested, according to researchers led by Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the school.

One such flavoring chemical, acetoin, was detected in 46 of the flavors while another, called 2,3-pentanedione, was found in 23 of the flavors, the findings showed.

There are currently more than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and liquid, the researchers said, but there's a lack of information on their potential health effects.