Physical Geography and Sciences



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Ashleigh Coggins-Block, Forensic Science
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Jinseok Heo, Chemistry, Professor Noel Leigh, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Maciej Goniewicz, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Background: Potential toxicants emitted from electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) include various types of heavy metals, such as lead, nickel, chromium, and cadmium, all of which pose a variety of health risks, including cancer. Previous research has shown these metals do not originate from refill solutions, instead they may be leaching into e-liquids over time from the parts of ENDS devices. Methods: A pre-filled ENDS device from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) 4-country survey was selected to pilot this study based on high levels of lead previously detected in its e-liquid. The device, a Blu Plus cartridge not connected to a battery, was purchased in 2017 from England and was deconstructed into its individual assembly components. Each component was washed and sonicated using methanol, then submerged separately in 10 mL of a blank e-liquid solution. One milliliter samples were taken at time: 0, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months and tested for levels of lead, nickel, chromium, and cadmium using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results: Nickel, chromium, and cadmium were not quantifiable for any timepoint or component. One component, the device's metallic battery connector, was found to be a significant source of lead, which was detected with increasing concentration at each sampling time point. Conclusions: This study has identified a component of ENDS devices that can be a significant source of toxic lead. It also sets the groundwork for more extensive heavy metal contamination studies on a diverse range of ENDS products in the future.

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Determining the Source of Toxic Heavy Metals in Closed-System E-Cigarettes
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