Over there on the right is a classic example of garbled science: the claim that vegetables can be grown ‘without chemicals,’ as if the vegetables themselves weren’t little lumps of chemicals already.
But I have another one to add to the list of bad ideas, and this one comes from a press release from the American Thoracic Society.
Oh, really? Could we wait until we discover something that affects organs at the acellular level before making it out to be news?
And just to make it worse, Wired repeats the same strange phrasing for this story.
It’s just annoying. Of course these processes are going to have effects “at the cellular level”. We’re made of cells. It’s all cells and molecules all the way through.
The paper itself is clear and specific, so this is just an oddity of the press release. The paper’s title is “Select E-Cigarette Flavors Alter Calcium Signaling, Cell Viability and Proliferation in Lung Epithelia” — when the experiment is to expose cells in culture to doses of the chemicals found in e-cigarettes, it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to be assessing cellular effects. And it is totally unsurprising that those chemicals would affect calcium signaling (it’s been my experience that just about everything modifies calcium signaling), or that some of them would have deleterious effects on survival or proliferation.
I’m kind of disgusted, actually, that this vaping crap is so popular — you’ve given up bathing your respiratory epithelia in the fumes from burning plants, for bathing the same epithelia in miscellaneous solvents and dissolved chemicals, and you’re surprised that at least some of them are unhealthy for you?
In fact, the one surprise to me in this paper is that they tested 13 different flavorings used in e-cigarettes, and 10 of them had no measurable effect on cells in culture. Unflavored vapors, with just nicotine and the carrier solution, had no effect either. That’s just weird — bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, so this would be saying that hitting those receptors with their ligand does nothing at all to the cells. I’m dubious.
As for the ones that did have a detectable effect…if you’re inhaling something called “Banana Pudding (Southern Style)”, you’ve got concerns.