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New Publication: Emissions from Heated Terpenoids Present in Vaporizable Cannabis Concentrates

Congratulations to the team for our recent publication in Environmental Science and Technology. A brief summary of the article and the link to the full article are below.

Vaporizable cannabis concentrates (VCCs) consumed as a liquid (vaping) or a waxy solid (dabbing) are becoming increasingly popular. However, their associated emissions and impacts have not been fully described. Mixtures containing different proportions of 12 VCC terpenoids and high MW compounds were heated at 100–500 °C inside a room-sized chamber to simulate emissions. Terpenoids, thermal degradation byproducts, and ultrafine particles (UFPs) were quantified in the chamber air. Air samples contained over 50% of emitted monoterpenes and less than 40% of released sesquiterpenes and terpene alcohols. Eleven degradation byproducts were quantified, including acrolein (1.3–3.9 μg m–3) and methacrolein (2.0 μg m–3). A large amount of UFPs were released upon heating and remained airborne for at least 3 h. The mode diameter increased from 80 nm at 100 °C to 140 nm at 500 °C, and particles smaller than 250 nm contributed to 90% of PM1.0. The presence of 0.5% of lignin, flavonoid, and triterpene additives in the heated mixtures resulted in a threefold increase in the particle formation rate and PM1.0 concentration, suggesting that these high-molecular-weight compounds enhanced aerosol inception and growth. Predicted UFP emission rates in typical consumption scenarios (6 × 1011–2 × 1013 # min–1) were higher than, or comparable with, other common indoor sources such as smoking and cooking.

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