By Kristin Archer, The Kanvas Co.
Member of NCIA’s Safe Vaping Task Force
The headlines in the news are practically unavoidable: as of October 31, 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,888 cases of lung injury in 49 states caused by vaping. While the majority of these incidents appear to have been caused by THC cartridges and nicotine e-cigarettes purchased from the unregulated and illicit market, states are panicking, resulting in banned sales and looming threats of executive or legislative action.
Amidst the chaos, countless brands have issued marketing materials assuring their customers that none of the suspected harmful ingredients, most notably Vitamin E acetate, have been added to their products. And as research progresses, the FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center “is using state-of-the-art technology to analyze hundreds of samples submitted by a number of states for the presence of cutting agents/diluents and other additives, pesticides, poisons, heavy metals, and toxins.” Although much of the focus is understandably on the contents of ingestibles, manufacturers need to ensure the safety of the delivery mechanism is considered as well.
While health officials train their sites on the proximate cause of injuries and deaths, we need to also ensure the devices themselves not cause harm. We do know that there are currently devices on the market made in China and from subpar materials (eg; NiChrome Plated Brass). While their initial low price tags may be enticing, the materials used in the manufacturing of these devices can pose serious health risks. Heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, all known carcinogens, can be present in poorly designed vaping devices. And while many of these cartridges may have undergone component testing, current regulatory requirements do not require testing to ensure these toxicants don’t wind up in the aerosol. Furthermore, hardware manufacturers may only share results from the most optimal testing conditions. Without accurately reflecting the full shelf life and saturation of heavy metal leaching that can take place from the components inside vaping devices, manufacturers leave themselves in a precarious position.
To stay clear from dangerous hardware, it is recommended that manufacturers:
- Ensure the use of safe, affordable materials and solutions.
- Continuously vet hardware suppliers by defining and demanding independent third-party test results as part of an ongoing quality program,
- Conduct leachables and extractables testing using the target oil and hardware combination over the intended shelf life of the product, using worst-case real-world conditions.
Heating variability is a new factor that is exclusive to vaping. As vaping technology has matured, so too has the ability to control the temperature of vaporization. The question that we need to ask now is whether we know what temperatures are safe for vaping? And that answer likely varies from formulation to formulation. If heating profiles can be limited to what is appropriate for a given formulation, rather than infinitely adjustable by the user through their selection of battery or settings, then brands can deliver a significantly more stable, curated vapor experience. And that is a good thing for consumers.
It is time the perspective shifts from ingredients alone to exploring potential harm caused by the combination of unsafe hardware and unpredictable temperature reactions, as the industry works toward the advancement of its suppliers, producers, and products.
Kristin Archer is the Director of Marketing for KANVAS, a cannabis technology company whose innovative software and hardware platform introduced temperature-controlled dosing technology and heating profiles that accurately and reliably deliver best-in-class vaporizing experiences for legal cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) consumers. Headquartered in Orange County, California, KANVAS delivers safety, security, and performance through an assortment of premium vaping solutions and ancillary products that are backed by patent-pending technology. To learn more about KANVAS, please visit www.TheKanvasCo.com.
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