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Eos Scientific on the challenges of e-liquid analysis and vapour analysis

Ahead of his presentation at the inaugural ENDS 2017 this June, we spoke to David Dawit, Chief Scientific Officer at Eos Scientific about the challenges of e-liquid analysis and vapour analysis, the need for standard methods and safe limits for substances of concern and more.

EOS Scientific will be looking at challenges of e-liquid analysis and vapour analysis, what are the challenges that you have experienced and what can the delegates hope to learn from your presentation?

The industry is young and a consequence of this is a definite lack of standard methodology for analysis and safety threshold limit. And although the MHRA has created guidance documents on the testing of e-liquid ingredients and emissions, each laboratory interprets these differently. This can lead to confusion for customers.  Most laboratories are skilled at delivering data, but our experience is that customers need to understand the data too. Our analytical experts offer this in a straightforward manner, producing data that is helpful for making safety assessments, within the current state of knowledge and analytical capability.  In this we have an excellent reputation in the industry.

Here are just a few examples of the current challenges:

  • For ingredient testing the target is to make sure that none of the prohibited substances are in the raw materials and there is no contamination from the manufacturing, bottling, transportation and other processes. This looks straightforward but as no limit of quantitation is set for individual chemicals results can be deceptive.
  • Nicotine assay tests have been found to be heavily dependent on the matrix effect. This can only be resolved using matrix-matched calibration standards. Some of the reported discrepancies between the label claim and actual nicotine levels have potentially come from analyzing nicotine assays without matrix-matched calibration standards. The consequence is that e-liquid manufacturers might find themselves spending a lot of time effort and money unnecessarily.
  • Emission testing methodology is widely different between labs and hence results cannot be compared directly. Validation of methods is also tricky as there are no reference e-liquids on which to base the results. Validation parameters, such as accuracy testing (requiring acceptable levels of recovery of standards through the different stages of the analytical methods), are problematic because spiking e-liquids, and putting them in the vaping device, can have unintended consequences of the standard reacting with materials inside the device.

There are of course more challenges but we have resolved most of the analytical issues by close collaboration with our clients.

Other manufacturers can benefit from our experience directly by adopting our solutions or having sufficient technical information to make an informed decision which will save their time and other resources.

Why is it important to have thorough and scientific research into e-liquid and vapour analysis and how does this knowledge affect the ENDS community?

Research is obviously the key to finding the right solutions for the analytical challenges. It also spearheads better and safer product development in the future. We carry out internal research to continually improve both our quality control and product development and some of our solutions for the analytical problems came from this.

Have you seen an increase in research in this sector and if so, why do you think this might be?

Yes, there is an increase in research in the sector and it’s both academic and industry led. Regulation, an increase in consumer awareness and the media all seem to contribute to this. However, there is still not enough high quality research papers. But as the industry is relatively young this is not surprising and I expect rapid change in the next few years.

What are you most looking forward to by attending the inaugural ENDS 2017 conference?

I expect to learn from other delegates how they resolved the challenges I’ve talked about earlier and listen to their opinions on our solutions. I also want to use the opportunity to increase our network from different sectors of the industry.

Eos Scientific will be presenting as part of the 'Testing standards, methods and potential harm reduction' alongside representatives from CORESTA, British American Tobacco and Altria. You can view the full programme here.

Book your ticket now to join these companies plus representatives from Battelle, Butterworth Laboratorites, JT International, the MHRA, Committee of Advertising Practice, British Standards Institute and more now.

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