A sampling of JUUL e-liquids – particularly tobacco and menthol flavored pods – tested positive for glucan, a component of fungal cell walls that can damage the lungs, according to an analysis published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The research was conducted by David Christiani, Elkan Blount Professor of Environmental Genetics, and Mi-Sun Lee, research associate in the Department of Environmental Health, both researchers with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study is an extension of a 2013 study the two conducted along with Joseph Allen, associate professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard Chan School, which found that many vaping products on the U.S. market were contaminated with bacterial and fungal toxins.
That research was conducted two years before JUUL was founded. JUUL products have since dominated the U.S. vape market. Christiani and Lee decided to analyze some JUUL pods to see how its products fared. They tested 54 JUUL pods for two types of microbial toxins – endotoxin and glucan – and found levels of endotoxin were too low to be detected. But nearly half of the samples tested positive for glucan, in particular tobacco and menthol flavors. Christiani speculated that the glucan contamination may have come from the raw materials or was created during the production process.
Researchers pointed out that chronic exposure to glucan can inflame the airwaves and damage the lungs. The injury is different from EVALI – the e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury that has affected more than 2,500 people across the country and killed at least 55.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.