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Electronic cigarettes flavored with mint and menthol may contain high levels of a potentially cancer-causing chemical that's banned from food in the U.S., according to a new study.
The finding comes just days after President Donald Trump's administration proposed banning flavored e-cigarettes following a string of mysterious vaping-related illnesses across the country.
Pulegone - Oil - Mint - Plants - Peppermint
Pulegone is an oil extracted from mint plants such as peppermint and spearmint that was previously added to candies and chewing gum to give flavor. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned synthetically made pulegone as a food additive because of carcinogenic effects found in animal studies.
However, there is a "discrepancy in regulation of the chemicals in food versus e-cigarettes," said study co-author Sven Jordt, an associate professor in anesthesiology, pharmacology and pathobiology at Duke University's School of Medicine. For e-cigarettes, the FDA's "level of regulation is fairly minimal."
Centers - Disease - Control - Prevention - CDC
Indeed, several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies previously found high levels of pulegone in mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. "The fact that it's allowed in e-cigarettes is very concerning," Jordt told Live Science.
For the new study, the researchers analyzed how much risk came with inhaling or ingesting pulegone. They calculated what's called the "margin of exposure" — a measure used by the FDA to calculate the cancer risk posed by food additives — for people who smoked various levels of flavored e-cigarettes and used smokeless tobacco.
Researchers - Data - FDA - Levels - Pulegone
To do that, the researchers used data obtained from the FDA about what levels of pulegone exposure were low enough to avoid causing tumors in animal studies. (Similar studies in humans don't exist.) The researchers also examined data obtained...
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