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New Study Officially Debunks Vaping and Formaldehyde Myth

New Study Officially Debunks Vaping and Formaldehyde Myth


The myth that vaping products release formaldehyde has finally been addressed and debunked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which found that there was no link between vaping and the creation of formaldehyde in the air.

The center conducted an experiment called the “Evaluation of Chemical Exposures at a Vape Shop,” and found that all vaping-related chemicals fell below the standards of safety as defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Furthermore, the levels of formaldehyde were no more than those commonly associated with everyday air.  

Origins of the Myth

In 2015, the New England Journal of Medicine claimed that the vapor from electronic cigarettes was filled with formaldehyde. This bogus claim was quickly rebuked by the vaping community, who correctly argued that the findings were the result of heating vaping systems to unrealistic temperatures, and measured formaldehyde was the result of burning wicking material, not vaporized e-liquid.

Unfortunately, despite the protest, the faulty study went viral on social media and resulted in a false stigma surrounding the vaping industry concerning the chemical, which is found in traditional cigarettes.

What is Formaldehyde?  

Formaldehyde is most commonly made in the body. Enzymes in the body break down formaldehyde into formate (formic acid), which can be further broken down into carbon dioxide. Most inhaled formaldehyde is broken down by the cells lining the mouth, nose, throat, and airways, so that less than a third is absorbed into the blood.

Formaldehyde is also a component of tobacco smoke and both smokers and those breathing secondhand smoke are exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde.

Exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory test animals and exposure to relatively high amounts of formaldehyde in medical and occupational settings has been linked to some types of cancer in humans, but the effect of exposure to small amounts is less clear, according to the American Cancer Society.

The CDC Study

In coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), public health officials conducted a series of air sampling tests at the request of a vape shop owner in January 2016.

The study tested and measured multiple “vaping-related chemicals,” including: 2,3-Pentanedione, 2,3-Hexanedione, Acetaldehyde, Acetoin, Diacetyl, Formaldehyde, Nicotine, Propylene glycol, and multiple Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs). It also checked the storage and safety protocols being implemented by vape shop staff and swipe samples were collected from “commonly touched surfaces” within the shop and from two employees.

The results, as previously stated, concluded that there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or dangerous in their air or on the surfaces.

“Area sampling results showed that background formaldehyde concentrations were similar to the personal sampling results. Low concentrations of formaldehyde exist in many indoor environments because of off gassing from furnishings, clothing, and other materials.”

If the federal government can report, with confidence, a lack of formaldehyde findings when they specifically went looking for a smoking gun and failed to find one, hopefully the narrative within the scientific community will begin to change.