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Flavoring Chemical Exposures at a Vape Shop
Employees in a vape shop were exposed to detectable levels of two widely used flavoring chemicals, diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, according to a report recently published by the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program. The shop sells e-cigarettes and e-liquids, which are typically made up of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring chemicals. NIOSH staff visited the facility at the request of the vape shop owner, who was concerned about employees’ potential exposure to vaping chemicals.  All measured concentrations of diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione were below occupational exposure limits, including NIOSH’s recommended exposure limits for both chemicals. However, the agency urges the employer to implement a policy to prohibit vaping in the shop with e-liquids containing those two flavoring chemicals. “Flavoring chemicals such as diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione have been associated with serious respiratory disease,” the NIOSH report reads. “One way to reduce exposure to these chemicals is to not use products containing them.” Further information from the report appears below.
From “Evaluation of Chemical Exposures at a Vape Shop”: Exposure to diacetyl is associated with an increased risk for severe lung disease and lung function decline. Irreversible lung disease, such as obliterative bronchiolitis, has been reported in employees in industries with diacetyl exposures. Severe airway damage and disease has also been observed in laboratory animals after exposure to diacetyl or 2,3-pentanedione. Because of the potential health effects associated with diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione exposure, NIOSH has an REL and 15-minute STEL for both of these flavoring chemicals.
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In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

Read more from the News Sentinel.
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