According to the BBC, vapes confiscated from pupils at Baxter College in Kidderminster were discovered to contain high levels of lead, nickel, and chromium. Laboratory testing showed that children using these vapes could inhale more than twice the daily safe amount of lead, and nine times the safe amount of nickel. Some vapes also contained harmful chemicals similar to those found in cigarette smoke.
Risks of High Lead Exposure
Children exposed to high levels of lead can experience issues with brain development and the central nervous system, as per the World Health Organisation.
Why Are These Vapes So Dangerous?
The Inter Scientific laboratory in Liverpool tested 18 vapes and found that most were illegal and unsafe. Carbonyls, which can break down into chemicals like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde at levels ten times higher than those in legal vapes, were also found. The metals found in the vapes were thought to have come from the heating element, but they were in the e-liquid itself. According to David Lawson of the lab, “In 15 years of testing, I have never seen lead in a device. None of these should be on the market – they break all the rules on permitted levels of metal. They are the worst set of results I’ve ever seen.”
Regulations of Vape Products
Manufacturers must follow regulations on ingredients, packaging, and marketing. Additionally, all e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be registered with the Medicine and HealthCare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), but the agency does not verify claims made in the paperwork and does not have the power to investigate unregistered products. The MHRA’s head of e-cigarettes, Craig Copland, stated that the results would be examined, and the agency will assess whether the vapes pose a health risk.
The Growing Issue of Illegal Products
Lawson noted that many illegal products are becoming increasingly challenging to differentiate from potentially legitimate ones. The UK government has allocated £3 million (approx. $4 million) to combat illegal sales of vapes to minors, remove products from stores, and provide evidence to minimise children’s access to electronic cigarettes.