Vaping deaths and extreme lung damage in hundreds may be linked to PTFE, a generic term for Teflon.
by Guy Cramer
Sept 17, 2019

Vaping has become increasingly popular in young adults and teens but hundreds of recent hospitalizations and 7 deaths have the medical community puzzeled.

As the U.S. govenment starts to intervene on Vaping due to the recent spike in severe lung illnesses and 7 deaths attributed to it, yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  had activated its emergency operations centre to coordinate the investigation into hundreds of cases of severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use.

I had written two papers in 2005 on Teflon and PTFE, Teflon is tetrafluoroethylene / polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the PTFE generic name is used if a company is not using DuPont product or does not want to pay license fees for using the Teflon trademarked name. Teflon is also used as the trade name by DuPont for perfluoroalkoxy polymer resin (PFA) a product with similar properties to PTFE.

I posted these two papers but never released them to the public until now. I had only shared the papers with Senator John Warner's Chief of Staff while Senator Warner was the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in 2005 and Dupont awhile after that.  

The first paper PTFE Free was on the large use of Teflon and PTFE within industries where the heat exceeded the levels that Dupont had determined were safe and the dangerous byproduct chemicals that occur when overheated. DuPont studies show that the Teflon begins to offgas toxic particulates at 446F but generic non-stick coatings made of similar chemical composition to Teflon has shown to break down at 396F.

A chemical known as C8 or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid or perfluorooctanoate) was found in the drinking water around the DuPont facilities in Ohio and West Virginia and is a byproduct of manufacturing Teflon. When the population in these areas tested high for C8, the general population away from these regions was tested to compare against normal levels. When the general population figures came back as almost identical to the Ohio and West Virginia (90+ percent) DuPont couldnt explain where the wide spread C8 was coming from. Even polar bears in the Arctic were showing elevated levels of PFOA in their blood. A Canadian study in 2001 discovered C8 was one of the chemicals released when Teflon is heated repeatedly.

You can read that paper here: PTFE Free

The second paper I wrote called "At War with Teflon" discussed the potential connection to Gulf War Syndrome and the heavy use of Teflon or PTFE in bombs, tracer bullets, flares, inciderary devices... where the chemical is used as an oxidizer and burned at temperatures that far exceed the safe limit. At severe temperatures (above 800F) Teflon gives off at least two chemicals known to be used in the past or present as chemical weapons agents.

U.S. Air Force requirements for 2005 of the two main decoys; M206 and MJU7A/B IR Countermeasure Flares required 132,602 KG (292,338 Lbs or 130.5 tons) of Teflon that was used for the combustible process. The MTV-1 US flare composition: Flame Temperature 2,707K (Kelvin) = 2,433C or 4,412F

You can read that paper here: At War with Teflon

Up until these recent reports of severe lung illness, I had not thought too much about vaping and didn't understand or care about how it worked. Then I remembered my papers and wondered, what temperatures are used for Vaping and is Teflon or PTFE used within these items. Sure enough they sell PTFE Parchment paper for vaping, Some manufacturers use PTFE as an insulator on the outer ceramic core and also used on the internal heating rod as a thin buffer.

The temperatures created by holding down the button on this devices rises over the duration and 428F is mentioned in a number of online documents which is lower than Duponts Teflon heating limit but 32F above the generic PTFE breakdown limit. The I ran across a blog that discusses temperatures up to 482F for vaporizing juice.

464F - Ultrafine particulate matter [4]: Teflon produces very small (ultrafine) particles which are very toxic, causing extreme lung damage to rats within 10 minutes of exposure. Longer exposures cause death. At higher temperatures, Teflon also produces toxic gases. Some scientists have found that the particles and gases together are responsible for Teflon's toxicity, perhaps because the gases adsorb to the particles, which because of their small size can lodge deep in the lower respiratory tract [5]. 

What is causing the extreme lung damage and deaths? Rats and humans do differ in many respects, and it would be unethical to test something on humans that causes extreme lung damage to rats within 10 minutes, but the humans seemed to have unwitingly volunteered to do just that by vaping at high temperatures with ptfe accessories or internal PTFE components.

 I couldn't say for certian that this is the culprit but I wouldn't bet against it.   


References:

CDC activates emergency operations centre for vaping-related illnesses https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/vaping-cdc-1.5286084

Vaping Daily Blog https://vapingdaily.com/blog/vaping-temperature/

Hercules PTFE Insulators http://www.planetvape.ca/hercules-ptfe-insulators.html

PTFE Drip Tips https://www.thedriptipstore.com/collections/teflon

Advanced Vaporizer Temperature Settings https://torontovaporizer.ca/blog/what-are-best-temperature-settings-for/

[4] Seidel, WC., Scherer, KV, Jr.., Cline, D, Jr.., Olson, AH., Bonesteel, JK., Church, DF., Nuggehalli, S and Pryor, WA. 1991. Chemical, physical, and toxicological characterization of fumes produced by heating tetrafluoroethene homopolymer and its copolymers with hexafluoropropene and perfluoro(propyl vinyl ether). Chem Res Toxicol 4(2): 229-36

[5] Johnston CJ, Finkelstein JN, Mercer P, Corson N, Gelein R, Oberdorster G. 2000. Pulmonary effects induced by ultrafine PTFE particles. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 168:208-15.

This material is Copyright 2019 by Guy Cramer, All Rights Reserved.
This material cannot be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of the Author. Whole Copies may be printed for personal use; no changes are to be made to the content, names or references.

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