Research indicates that vape cartridges used for e-cigs and yes, even CBD oil, are largely contaminated with lead and other toxic metals.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University evaluated 56 cartridges and found that “significant numbers of the devices generated aerosols with potentially unsafe levels of lead, chromium, manganese and/or nickel.” And this isn’t just isolated to the e-cig market. Vape devices used for CBD have also been testing positive for lead and other toxins.
Continued inhalation of these metals can lead to many different adverse health conditions including damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver, brain, immune system, and cardiovascular system, plus some cancers.
California is currently at the forefront of resolving this problem, implementing new lab standards that will test cartridges for toxic metals as well as mycotoxins – poisons created by fungi and mold. These requirements are set to go into effect sometime at the beginning of this year but so far, only a small percentage of labs are equipped to conduct said tests, putting consumers in a potentially dangerous predicament.
Jacqueline McGowan, the director of local licensing and business development at Sacramento lobbying firm K Street Consulting, expected some challenges to arise. “We knew this was going to be an issue back in July of last year when we saw phase-2 testing standards go into effect and how that affected the marketplace.” She said many of her business clients are concerned about what happens if their vape cartridges don’t pass the tests. A small fraction of California companies are sending their empty CBD vape cartridges in for analysis and at least 5% are contaminated with lead.
One of the main concerns is that most of these cartridges are produced in China where regulations vary greatly from ours. Even those that say they’re “manufactured in the United States” are actually only assembled here, but the parts still come from China.
According to Josh Myers, the director of sales at the cannabis ancillary products supplier the Calico Group, “it’s absolutely true that some vape cartridges on the market are contaminated with lead. Chinese manufacturers are already well aware of this. Most of the manufacturers have already got on board, but there’s still a tremendous amount of product … that still has lead in it.”
This is an important discovery because, just like food and beverages and the whole phthalates discovery, cannabis oil can also be contaminated by the material it’s stored in. Some companies whose oil passed the test before being packaged, failed once it was tested in the cartridge.
Even though it may be more cost efficient to use certain types of cartridges, manufactures have a responsibility to their consumers to offer them safe products that won’t cause undue health problems, especially when they’re used medicinally. We hope that future CBD products will test 100% free of lead and other dangerous toxins.