One of the rumours that has surrounded vaping is the idea that e-liquids are dangerous because ingesting them can be poisonous. This rumour is misleading for a number of reasons, while drinking large amounts of e-liquid is bad for you, this is also true of other common, household products like mouthwash, paracetamol and homeopathic medicines. And, unlike those three examples, e-liquids are not intended to be eaten or drunk.
It’s important to store e-liquids safely and keep them out of reach of children and pets. But that doesn’t make vaping or e-liquids any more harmful to keep around the home than other common, household products. In fact, many of these products have significantly more risk.
To put this rumour in context, we need to take a look at the other household products that often get overlooked.
Some Of The Things
While it may seem obvious, bleach is responsible for a shocking number of poisonings. In the US alone almost fifty-thousand people reported potential bleach poisonings last year and over a thousand of those were serious cases.
Like any poisonous liquid, bleach needs to be stored safely and kept out of reach of children and pets. Despite the fact that bleach is widely known to be an incredibly harmful substance when ingested, poisonings still occur and each year a small number of people are killed as a result of bleach poisoning.
Medicines like aspirin are another common example of household products that can be poisonous. In the right doses, aspirin can provide pain relief as well as reducing fever and swelling, but ingesting too much can have serious consequences for our health.
Last year around twenty-thousand people in the US reported potential aspirin poisonings. Almost two thousand of these cases were serious and twenty-six aspirin poisonings resulted in death.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen
Like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are both over the counter medicines that most people will have around the home. Commonly used as painkillers, paracetamol and ibuprofen are poisonous if ingested above the recommended dosage.
Around six thousand people report potential paracetamol poisonings each year in the UK and there were more than two thousand reports of potential ibuprofen poisonings.
In the US alone there are around six thousand cases of potential poisonings as a result of cigarettes each year. And shockingly, more than ninety percent of cigarette poisonings involve children under the age of five.
This is on top of the other health risks associated with smoking like lung disease, heart disease and cancer. Around fifty percent of smokers will die as a result of smoking related illnesses and around ten thousand people in the UK die each year because of second-hand smoke.
Pens are a poisonous household item that might surprise people. We don’t often associate pens with a trip to the hospital, but last year more than ten thousand people in the US reported potential poisonings from ingesting pen ink.
The majority of these ink poisonings were young children and although most of the cases were not serious, ink poisoning did lead to one death in 2013.
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Another chemical that is sometimes overlooked, liquid laundry detergent pods were responsible for more than ten thousand reports of potential poisonings in the US last year.
These little detergent pods are small, brightly coloured and some people have complained that they too closely resemble confections. Whether this child-appealing appearance is a factor or not, liquid laundry detergent pods are responsible for almost a thousand serious poisonings each year. These innocuous-looking pods have even caused a handful of deaths.
This common, household item is one of the more obvious poisons that many of us will interact with. In the US alone there were almost six thousand reports of potential poisonings because of superglue last year and more than a hundred cases of serious poisonings.
Most super glues are not very toxic, but prolonged exposure can cause health problems. And while people can accidentally ingest superglue as a result of not washing their hands or children chewing on items that have been glued together, fumes and contact with skin are the most common causes of superglue health problems.
Like aspirin and other medicines, mouthwashes that contain alcohol can be beneficial when used correctly, freshening breath and helping keep teeth healthy. But last year in the US there were more than seven thousand reported cases of potential mouthwash poisonings and more than two hundred of these cases were serious.
Although homeopathic medicines are intended to be beneficial, there were almost ten thousand reports of potential homeopathic medicine poisonings in the US last year. It’s important to remember that the majority of these calls will be false alarms, but more than thirty cases did result in moderate health risks.
This means that homeopathic medicines, which are predominantly water with a tiny number of other ingredients, can still result in poisonings in the wrong circumstances. In fact, water itself can cause harm if too much is ingested too quickly, resulting in water intoxication.
Finally, reed diffusers are a common type of air freshener that use reeds to soak up and defuse scented oils. Like pens and homeopathic medicines, we might not think of these air fresheners as a source of potentially harmful poisonings, but statistics show that there are around two hundred cases of reed diffuser poisonings in the UK each year.
While the majority of these cases only lead to minor harm, around two percent were considered serious poisonings.
Play It Safe
Reviewing the common, household products listed here, it’s clear that there are a lot of items around our homes that have the potential to be harmful. But people don’t use this potential harm as a reason to attack aspirin, mouthwash or other common goods like they attack e-liquids.
E-liquid should be handled and stored safely and kept out of reach of children and pets, but that is also true of mouthwash, paracetamol and other products. E-liquids are not a special case that stands out above the others.