Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Sara Hubbard

Second Advisor

Dr. Tim Knight

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Kelly

Abstract

As more and more teenagers and young adults begin to vape, whether it be to quit smoking or to look cool, there is a potential for them to be exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA) through the plastic mouthpieces on the vapes. BPA is a molecule that is added in many plastics to make the plastic harder (Houlihan, Lunder, & Jacob, 2008). Unfortunately, BPA is structurally similar to estrogen as can be seen in Figure 1. The closeness of the structures can cause issues in humans such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and reproductive problems (Houlihan, Lunder, & Jacob, 2008). In recent years, BPA has been removed from many items such as water bottles and Tupperware, but vaping mouthpieces remain unregulated, therefore, there is a possibility that BPA could be used in making them.

People who vape come in contact with their mouthpieces multiple times throughout the day, risking exposure to any BPA that may be in the plastic. To examine the levels of BPA in vaping mouthpieces, several mouthpieces were tested for BPA content. There were two different test groups. The first was ceramic mouthpieces, which do not contain BPA. The second consisted of plastic mouthpieces, that could possibly contain BPA. In order to determine the amount of BPA that was released from each mouthpiece, the mouthpieces were submerged in 50/50 methanol-water. Samples were taken at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 120, 180, and 1440 minutes. The samples were tested using an FS5 Spectrofluorometer from Edinburgh Instruments to measure the amount of fluorescence given off by the sample, which was then used to determine the concentration of BPA in the methanol-water based off of calculations from a calibration curve.

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