In July 2009, the FDA held media briefing regarding the results of tests they performed on two brands of electronic cigarettes. Dr. Jonathan Samet, Director for the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California, stated, "...in one sample there the diethylene glycol (DEG) the presence of diethylene glycol was detected and this is a toxic of material somewhat akin to what is the ethylene glycols in antifreeze."
This announcement lead to numerous following statements made by ANTZ:
"Among our many concerns is that some e-cigarettes have been shown to contain cancer-causing ingredients, toxic chemicals and anti-freeze, substances to which no one, especially kids, should be exposed." - American Cancer Society
"They contain toxic chemicals like those found in antifreeze." - American Lung Association
"...they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze." - Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
"...e-cigarettes pollute indoor air with detectable levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals...such as diethylene glycol, a component of antifreeze." - Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights
By using the word "antifreeze," without any further information, the ANTZ are clearly attempting to lead the public to believe either A) there is actual antifreeze in e-cigarette liquid and/or B) all e-cigarette liquid contains enough of the "antifreeze" chemical to cause significant harm or even death. They know that the public is pretty well informed about how deadly antifreeze can be.
The FDA was able to use this "Toxic Shocker" lie because it did find diethylene glycol during its testing. That part is true. However, the FDA did not mention some very key facts that would have easily lessened the impact of their "antifreeze" scare tactic:
1) The actual FDA report shows that only one out of 18 samples tested contained DEG, so not all of the samples were contaminated.
2) Diethylene glycol is a known impurity in propylene glycol, an ingredient considered GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA. Therefore, there is potential for very low levels of DEG to be present in products containing propylene glycol, such as toothpastes, mouthwashes and e-cigarette liquid.
3) The amount of diethylene glycol reported in the FDA test was "approximately 1%" of the liquid. The average e-cigarette cartridge contains approximately 1 ml of liquid, making the amount found approximately 0.01 ml. This is significant because the estimated oral lethal dose for undiluted DEG is about 1.6 oz (47 ml) for an adult human.
4) The FDA did not report finding DEG in the vapor it tested, so someone would have to drink 4,700 ml of contaminated e-cigarette liquid in order to get to a fatal dose of DEG.
5) Subsequent testing of other brands, by dozens of companies and independent researcher has failed to find further evidence of DEG contamiation.
No testing, including that done by the FDA, has ever found anything close to a harmful amount of diethylene glycol in e-cigarette liquid. The amount found in just one cartridge was so insignificant that it would not have even been worth mentioning unless the FDA wished to scare consumers from using electrionic cigarettes. The use of the word "antifreeze" was clearly meant to make it sound more scary and dangerous that it really is. I rate this lie to be A Toxic Shocker.
ANTZ Check Lie icons:
A Toxic Shocker: Using negative comparisons and analogy to make something sound more dangerous than it really is. Often uses scary-sounding chemical names.
A B*** S*** Lie: Absolutely untrue, no evidence whatsoever to support the claim.
A Truth Twister: Presenting facts in such a way that something that could just as easily be seen as positive is presented only as negative or a careful use of specific words to change the focus of a discussion.
An Ego Booster: Relying on an authoritative or respected reputation to give the impression that an opinion or theory is a known fact. You must believe what they say solely because they are someone "important."
NEXT...ANTZ CHECK #2: E-cigarette "candy" flavors target children