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Go on! Heavy steel testing in vapes

The truth is, there is a lot we don't know about vapes. For one, the idea that people could get sick is often attributed to additives. However, other things, like heavy metal testing in vapes, aren't even part of the standard rule, so we don't know what kind of problems they could cause. Is the heavy metals matter a concern and what can be done to ensure that users are not ingesting dangerous amounts?

Heavy metal testing in vapes is still in its infancy and users should always be aware of this. Fortunately, regulation should be in place soon to make sure products are safer. For now, vapes still seem like a healthier option for standard smoking, and we have great deals on all types of cannabis compounds from Delta-8-THC to THCV to THC-O-A. If you are worried about vaping, fear not! We have delicious gummy bears and a variety of other delivery methods so you can get your favorite product the way you prefer. Save big on Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our best of lists!

What are heavy metals?

It wasn't primarily about rock music. That's the good kind of heavy metal (as long as that's your thing). The heavy metals mentioned are metals based on high densities, atomic weights or atomic numbers. Their distinction can be different in different areas, with metallurgy defining it by density, physics defining it by atomic number and chemistry looking more at the behavior of the molecules. There are no other generally accepted definitions.

While separate definitions can include up to 96 of the 118 known chemical elements, only three meet all definitions, namely mercury, lead and bismuth. When it comes to heavy metals, mercury and lead are often mentioned. Think of those who are concerned about thimerosal in vaccines (which is mercury) or lead in paint or water.

The term heavy metals is therefore often viewed as strictly negative for humans, but this is not the case either. Some heavy metals are also essential nutrients for the human body, such as iron and zinc. And some are harmless like silver, gold and indium. In fact, some non-essential heavy metals like gold and silver actually have health benefits, although this is more accepted in naturopathy (like cannabis in general) than in western medicine. You can judge for yourself why. Silver and gold are both antimicrobial, with both having been used medicinally for thousands of years.

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Heavy metal toxicity

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How does an oil vape work?

The first thing you need to understand is that when we talk about heavy metals in vapes, we are not talking about all vapes. There are dry herbal vapes that use regular bud and vaporize that these issues are not necessarily an issue as this industry has already done more to ensure safer vaping materials. The problem is explicitly related to oil vapes and can refer to either the e-cig industry or the cannabis oil vape industry, each using similar smoking vapes and similar compounds.

How a vape works is important in understanding where heavy metal problems arise. When dealing with oils, the oils themselves are in a cartridge, sometimes referred to as a tank when refilling. While glass and stainless steel are sometimes used, cartridges and tanks are generally made of polycarbonate plastic. The tanks and carts usually contain the atomizer for the vape, a metal coil that heats up. Along with this metal coil, there are also metal solders in the cartridge. The atomizer is a small heating unit that heats the oil to vaporize it into tiny microscopic droplets.

To power the atomizer, the vape needs a battery and that is the body that the cartridge screws into. This battery needs to be powerful enough to heat the atomizer to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit in a very short amount of time, which means that rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are used these days. The whole process is pretty straightforward. A sensor helps the atomizer know when someone is pulling on it and when to heat. The mechanics are also relatively simple and essentially the same whether a person is smoking an e-cigarette or a cannabis vape cart.

Do we need heavy metal tests in vapes?

Now that we know what heavy metals are and we know how vapes work, how necessary is it to do heavy metal tests on vapes? And the answer seems pretty consistent and a little unsettling. In a 2019 presentation titled Heavy Metal Contaminants from Cannabis Vaporizer Cartridges: Valid Concern or Blowing Smoke? Investigators conducted a pilot study to evaluate how much vaporizer cartridges emit four basic dangerous heavy metals of interest: Pb (lead), Hg (mercury), Cd (cadmium), and As (arsenic). The tests were performed directly on the aerosol inhaled by the user.

Investigators used three different types of hardware to see if different brands were delivering more or less harmful offerings, and default voltage settings were used. Investigators tested realistic formulations of cannabis to get an accurate picture of how it would act over time with heavy metal exposure. The formulations were tested from the cartridges, just as an air sample pump was used to make cannabis aerosols. The aim was to see how much of these heavy metals got into the aerosols that were absorbed.

Preliminary results confirmed that heavy metals were washed out of the hardware and a decent amount got into the inhaled aerosol. It also showed that after six months in a cartridge, the steam oil was three times the potency of. contained lead, indicating that it's not just about the heating process, but that these chemicals can leach out even if no heat is applied. The basic overall findings indicated that heavy metals were found from the condensate of steam cartridges, that the recovered and remaining solutions had an increased heavy metal content compared to the starting material, and that the evaporation itself is not necessary for the cartridges to leak heavy metals.

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Vapor security

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It should be noted that all of this has to do with the hardware of the vape, which is emitting these heavy metals, and not the oil or any harmful chemicals or additives that may be in it. That's a whole different subject for a different time.

Is it important?

While we may not all be scientists, and although there is drama and debate over where some heavy metals like vaccines appear, there seems to be a general consensus in the scientific world that many heavy metals are extremely dangerous to human health. As per the 2021 article: Toxic Mechanisms of Five Heavy Metals: Mercury, Lead, Chromium, Cadmium, and Arsenic it states:

Several acute and chronic toxic effects of heavy metals affect different organs of the body. Gastrointestinal and renal dysfunction, disorders of the nervous system, skin lesions, vascular damage, dysfunction of the immune system, birth defects and cancer are examples of the complications of the toxic effects of heavy metals.

It also says about high-dose and low-dose exposure: High-dose heavy metals, especially mercury and lead, can cause serious complications such as abdominal colic, bloody diarrhea and kidney failure. Low-dose exposure, on the other hand, is a subtle and hidden threat unless repeated regularly, which can then be diagnosed by its complications, e.g. in children.

So it seems important to limit heavy metal exposure, be it in large or small doses. And when you consider that vapes suggest long-term and constant exposure even at lower doses, it can create numerous and significant health concerns.

What else do we know?

Unfortunately, there aren't many studies on the subject yet, so while it is becoming an understood and discussed topic, it is still not backed by consistent research. In addition, as mentioned above, when searches are carried out, each specific piece of information is not always searched for. Now we can put pieces together. We know that there are heavy metals of interest in aerosols, and we know that these heavy metals are dangerous to human health.

We also know from this – Metal / Metalloid Levels in Electronic Cigarette Liquids, Aerosols, and Human Biosamples: A Systematic Review that examined the metal / metalloid levels in e-liquids, aerosols and biosamples of e-cigarette users that this was the case People are measured. Of the 24 studies used for the review, four of the studies specifically reported heavy metal levels in human biosamples, including urine, saliva, serum, and blood. The review found that most biosamples from e-cig users were higher than biosamples from regular cigarette smokers or cigar smokers.

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Heavy metal test vapes

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As someone who has repeatedly reiterated the idea that vaping is less dangerous than smoking, I think it's still good to point out that vaping simply doesn't cause the same death rates as smoking, although it is entirely possible that this could change over time with more steam exposure. As a vaper and an asthmatic, I can say that vaping does significantly less acute harm to me, to the point where comparing it is still silly, but I certainly can't confirm what's going to happen in the long run, and I admit that I find that a bit frightening. The idea that heavy metals are consumed in this way points to a significant problem with oil vaporizers that could lead to very significant health problems in a few years.

What is done for heavy metal tests in vapes?

The problem with there being no formal regulation in various government industries, and no law requiring it in legalized places, is that it is up to the government regulators to put regulations in place. It did so slowly at best, despite a growing number of complaints about heavy metals in vape cartridges.

Colorado paved the way and passed new laws that will enforce heavy metal testing starting January 2022. Colorado laboratories are required to test vape liquids and concentrates and their vape emissions. One of the provisions here, and a failure of Colorado's new policy, is to ignore heavy metals that get into the vapor liquid while sitting in a cartridge, which is a very important factor according to the results above.

Even so, this is a huge advancement as it is responsible for what ends up in steam aerosols after exiting the cartridge, and not just what was originally in the steam liquid, but also what the parts of the cartridge might add to this. The law was incorporated into Colorado's cannabis regulation last year.

Sadly, Colorado is still the only state that appears to be enforcing such a measure, although Maryland (which currently only has one medical program) looks like it could introduce a requirement for independent testing, though its website is quite lacking in that that is . However, Maryland has already shown understanding that final vape aerosols must be tested separately from raw materials, and it appears that this new guideline is likely to include testing similar to Colorado.


Similar to making sure that no bad chemicals are added to vape oils for flavoring, filling, stabilizing, etc., it is also important to make sure that the vape cartridges themselves are not harmful. Vaping has proven to be a much healthier general option than smoking cigarettes, and while we don't have all the answers, simply enforcing cartridges, which cannot cause these issues, would certainly be a useful scheme when it comes to the general problem the reduction in heavy metal goes to volume found in testing aerosols produced by vapes.

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Disclaimer of liability: Hello, I am a researcher and author. I am not a doctor, a lawyer, or an entrepreneur. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I do not give advice to anyone, and while I enjoy discussing topics, should anyone have additional questions or concerns they should seek advice from an appropriate professional.

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