Electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids) can contain a variety of chemicals to impart flavors, smells and pharmacological effects. Surveillance studies have identified hundreds of chemicals used in e-liquids that have known health and safety implications. Ethyl acetate has been identified as a common constituent of e-liquids. Ethyl acetate is rapidly hydrolyzed to ethanol in vivo. Animal studies have demonstrated that inhaling >2,000 mg/L ethyl acetate can lead to the accumulation of ethanol in the blood at concentrations >1,000 mg/L, or 0.10%. A "Heisenberg" e-liquid was submitted to the Laboratory for Forensic Toxicology Research for analysis after a random workplace drug test resulted in a breath test result of 0.019% for a safety-sensitive position employee. Analysis of this sample resulted in the detection of 1,488 ± 6 mg/L ethyl acetate. The evaluation of purchased "Heisenberg" e-liquids determined that these products contain ethyl acetate. The identification of ethyl acetate in e-liquids demonstrates poor regulatory oversight and enforcement that potentially has consequences for breath ethanol testing and interpretations. The accumulation of ethanol in the breath from the ingestion/inhalation of ethyl acetate from an e-liquid used prior to a breath test may contribute to the detection of ethanol.

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