How Safe Is Your Vape?
Understanding the technology and different parts can help you make an informed decision about which vape cartridge is right for you.
There are so many different types of cartridges and atomizers that it's difficult for consumers and even canna-entrepreneurs to know which ones to choose. Here, I explain cart technology, the safest and most harmful practices, and what to look for when selecting a good option.
Let's start by using this diagram as a guide.
Because this component has the most contact surface with the extract, it's essential to know what material manufacturers use. Fused Borosilicate Quartz (glass) is one of the safest materials because it can handle temperatures up to 1,100°C, and it isn't prone to leaching [the process of a solute becoming detached or extracted from its carrier substance by way of a solvent]. Borosilicate quartz is even used to store nuclear waste.
On the other end of the safety scale, polycarbonate materials (plastics) can leach products like bisphenol-A (BPA) at higher temperatures if the extract tends to be more basic than acidic. These materials should not be used in cartridges or disposables and can pose potential health risks for consumers.
These are the components that are most prone to leaching if not made with a suitable material. Traditionally, the material used is a brass alloy called H59, which contains a little over two percent of lead. When you speak to manufacturers, they will often claim this is "lead-free", which is a big misconception as they are mainly using another brass allot called H59-B1 or B2 that contains only 0.05 percent lead but can still leach. At Blinc, we use medical grade 304 Stainless Steel, which doesn't have any lead at all. Keep in mind that any finish on these materials may also contain lead (i.e., gold of black electroplating).
Known as the "cotton" in a cartridge, this part serves as a catalyst to the capillary action of the coils. It absorbs the extract faster and gets it to the core of the cartridge, which in most cases is ceramic and enables faster absorption of the extract in the coil. During everyday use of the cartridge, this cotton will never reach burning temperatures.
This is where the magic happens in any vaping device. When voltage is applied, the heating element (i.e., stainless steel, kanthal, or nichrome) will provide heat up to a certain temperature. That heat will reach the oil that the wicking material has absorbed (ceramic, quartz, etc.), which will allow the oil to be "vaporized" into an aerosol. The key factors that influence this process are the consistency and purity of the materials used. A secondary factor is also the intensity and length of the puff (the vaping profile).
Silicone offers excellent low and high-temperature capability while maintaining superior flexibility, low toxicity, low odor, lower molding pressures, and very low extractables (leaching characteristics). These joints serve two purposes: To avoid leaking and to secure the components in place. The type of silicone is vital as most silicone gaskets have a serviceable temperature range from -55 °C to 200 °C. Keep in mind that when using proper vaping cartridges and battery, with the cutoff times, the temperature should never go over 200 °C.