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Report: Many e-cigs produce high levels of cancer-causing chemicals

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced plans Wednesday to take legal action against 19 electronic cigarette manufactures.

The California-based consumer safety group said it conducted independent tests and found that one or more products from each company produced high levels of either formaldehyde or acetaldehyde, or both, two chemicals that cause cancer and have been linked to genetic damage, birth defects and reduced fertility.

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The CEH says the companies, which include RJ Reynolds, ITG Brands LLC and NJOY Inc., violated California’s consumer protection law known as Proposition 65, by failing to warn consumers about the significant amount of chemicals in their products.

In its report, A Smoking Gun: Cancer Causing Chemicals in E-cigarettes, released Wednesday, the CEH said testing showed 21 products produced a level of one of the chemicals at more than 10 times the state safety standard, and that seven products produced one of the chemicals at more than 100 times the safety level.

“For decades, the tobacco industry mounted a campaign of lies about cigarettes, and now these same companies claim that their e-cigarettes are harmless,” CEH Executive Director Michael Green said in a release. “Anyone who thinks that vaping is harmless needs to know that our testing unequivocally shows that it’s not safe to vape.”

The report said that one nicotine-free product produced acetaldehyde at more than 13 times the state legal safety threshold and formaldehyde at more than 74 times the threshold, while the majority, 50 of the 97 products tested, showed high levels of one or both of the cancer-causing chemicals, in excess of the California standards.