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Respiratory Effects of Exposure to Metals from Electronic Cigarettes (RE-EMIT)

Principal Investigator: Ana Maria Rule

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 3R01ES030025-03S1

Award Date: 7/25/2020

Institution: Johns Hopkins University

Several metals, including lead and nickel, are known lung toxicants and have been found in e-cigarette aerosols. In this CTP supplement to a parent grant (The Exposure to Metals from E-Cigarettes (EMIT) Study), researchers will study how patterns of “pod” e-cigarette device use impact exposure to metals among young adults (ages 18-24) and how these metal exposures may be associated with pulmonary health effects. Study aims are: (1) to evaluate the contribution of pod devices to metal exposure; (2) to measure pod users’ pulmonary health outcomes and evaluate their association with pod use; and (3) to assess the role of metals in pod-related pulmonary health outcomes. To achieve Aim 1, researchers will assess metal concentrations in pod aerosol (collected from each participant’s device) and assess their association with use patterns (from a questionnaire) as well as established biomarkers of metal exposure in blood (lead, cadmium, manganese and zinc) and urine (nickel, arsenic, chromium, antimony, and tungsten); they will also measure chromium and arsenic in the aerosol. To achieve Aim 2, researchers will characterize differences in pulmonary outcomes between pod users and non-users at 0 and 6 months; among users, researchers will evaluate differences by age, sex, and pod type. To achieve Aim 3, researchers will assess the association of metals in pods and in biomarkers of exposure (e.g., urine nickel) with measures of lung effects by evaluating which patients fall below the lower limit of normal for pulmonary function tests. Researchers will add pulmonary outcome measures to 25 pod users and 25 control participants from the parent study, and will recruit an additional 25 pod users and 25 non-users (ages 18-24) to characterize pulmonary outcomes (reductions in the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (DLCO)), measures of metals in device aerosols, and measures of exposure to metals in urine and blood at 0 and 6 months. Study findings may inform future regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes. 

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