Senator Udall Leads Coalition Pressing FDA to Tackle Toxics in E-Cigarettes

As e-cigarette popularity soars, clear standards are needed to protect public health

U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) called for clear product standards and good manufacturing processes to combat the health risks of toxic substances in e-cigarettes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalizes its first regulations of the aerosol-producing products. The number of e-cigarette users — especially among young people — has soared in recent years, but little is known about the long-term health risks for users and the risks of breathing in second-hand aerosol.

“Because e-cigarettes are not yet regulated by FDA, e-cigarette manufacturers have been able to introduce these products to the market without having to test them for potentially harmful substances, adhere to good manufacturing processes or meet other standards to minimize risk,” the senators wrote in a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff.

More than 466 different brands of e-cigarettes in thousands of flavors have entered the market without any testing. Carcinogens and other toxins have been found in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes, and poor manufacturing can cause problems like battery leaks and explosions.

“Studies have shown that the level of toxic substances can vary significantly among different e-cigarette products as a result of the content of the e-liquid and the design features of the e-cigarette. For example, the type of solvent used and the voltage of the battery appear to affect the levels of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde that are generated,” the letter continues.

“Clearly, research and oversight are lacking for e-cigarettes, including a better understanding of the long-term health risks of using them and the risks to non-users of breathing in second-hand aerosol emitted from them.”

The vast majority of e-cigarettes sold in the United States are produced in China, and a New York Times investigation exposed low safety standards among some Chinese manufacturers.

The full text of the letter is available HERE