Monday, 26 January 2015

Authors of e-cig formaldehyde junk science: "We just wanted to get it out"

I'm sure you can find something
dangerous in that glass of 
water, Dr. Pankow. Use your 
imagination!
Last week we saw another formaldehyde scare story hit the news, with a couple of so called scientists proving nothing more than this: If you crank up the voltage of your vaporizer until it starts tasting like shit, and keep on vaping it, you might inhale some formaldehyde as well. In other words, if you intentionally want to inhale formaldehyde, it is perfectly possible to do so using some of the e-cigarettes available today.

The fact that the only vaper in the world that would willingly do that is a robot in Dr. Peyton and Dr. Pankow's lab is not the only problem with this study. In fact, the good doctors themselves goes a long way in saying that their study is shit. Some of their statements are summarized in this great post on reason.com: Does Formaldehyde Make E-Cigarettes Worse Than the Real Thing?
Pankow told NBC "we are not saying e-cigarettes are more hazardous than cigarettes," although that is the impression left by the NEJM letter. He noted that "we are only looking at one chemical" out of the thousands that can be found in tobacco smoke, of which hundreds are toxic or carcinogenic. "The jury is really out on how safe these drugs are," he said. According to Reuters, "Pankow conceded that the study could have contained more context about overall relative risk, but said the authors 'just wanted to get it out.'"
Wow, hang on there... so "just wanting to get it out" is now an excuse to publish science that is so bad that even Dr. Neal Benowitz, one of the scientist thrown off FDA's TPSAC (FDA Tobacco ProductsScientific Advisory Committee) because of... well corruption, questiones the legitimacy of some of it's conclusions (have a look at Reuters article mentioned in the quote above):
But he questioned the legitimacy of comparing the effect of formaldehyde delivered in a cigarette to that delivered via hemiacetal, in droplet form, in an e-cigarette. The effect on organs could be entirely different, he said. 
And, one of our dear doctors even agrees with this:
"There has never been a cancer study with hemiacetals," Pankow said in an interview.
In other words: We don't really have any proof of anything, so we just made up a conclusion "to get it out". Dr. Farsalinos was also quick to point out this error in his initial reaction to the study.

I'm seriously having problems deciding who I think is the biggest idiots here. The "scientists" deciding to publish this because they "just wanted to get it out" (how the hell did they get their PhDs anyway?), or the media? Like NBC that decided to go with this headline based on something that a couple of junk scientist just wanted to get out:
Before You Vape: High levels of Formaldehyde Hidden in E-Cigs
For now I think I'm just going to count them as equally useless. The saddest part is that neither has said or done anything to make this right yet as far as I know.

VaporVial Fivepawns

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