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Health Watchdog Group Finds Cancer-Causing Chemicals E-Cigarettes

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Smoking e-cigarettes or "vaping" is hazardous to your health according to a Bay Area health watchdog group.

The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH) tested dozens of e-cigarettes and found high levels of "cancer causing chemicals" formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, in violation of California safety standards.

The non-profit announced Wednesday it is taking legal action against several e-cigarette makers for failing to warn consumers about the serious cancer risk.

CEH commissioned an independent lab to test products from 2 dozen companies, including RJ Reynolds, NJoy and Imperial Tobacco/ITG Brands, for formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

"The testing showed that 21 products produced a level of one of the chemicals at more than ten times the state safety standard, and 7 products produced one of the chemicals at more than 100 times the safety level," said CEH in a press release on Wednesday.

The findings were issued in a report titled, "A Smoking Gun: Cancer Causing Chemicals in E-Cigarettes."

"Anyone who thinks that vaping is harmless needs to know that our testing unequivocally shows that it's not safe to vape," said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. "This is especially troubling given the reckless marketing practices of the e-cigarette industry, which targets teens and young people, and deceives the public with unfounded health and safety claims."

Currently the Food and Drug Administration only regulates e-cigarettes are marketed for therapeutic purposes. There is currently a proposed plan to extend FDA oversight to include e-cigarettes and other products including cigars, gels and waterpipe tobacco.

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