Flint Lighters Produce Toxic Dust

We recommend using an electronic ignition (piezoelectric) butane lighter (or the Ital Hempwick lighter) instead of a conventional 'flint' lighter because 'flint' lighters produce toxic 'flint' dust.  This toxic dust is visible and appears as smoke when a flint lighter is ignited. This flint dust contains "misch metal", an alloy of rare earth metals (neodymium, samarium, cerium, lanthanum etc). Rare earth metals are known to be toxic, especially when in the form of inhaled microscopic particles. Hence, we think that inhalation of flint dust should be avoided. And the best way to avoid flint dust is to use an electronic ignition (piezo) lighter. Please note that the issue of rare earth dust inhalation is not specific to the VaporGenie. Anyone using a flint lighter to light a cigarette or smoke a pipe is inhaling rare earth dust. Any smoker concerned about their health should use an electronic ignition lighter. Below is an abstract describing the toxic effect of rare earth metals on lung tissue. Not good. They are slightly less toxic than cadmium to lung tissue.


Flint dust accumulates on the VaporGenie ceramic filter, forming a visible orange/red discoloration. This discoloration does not affect the performance of the VaporGenie. It is merely an indication that a flint lighter has been used.

If you must use a flint lighter, we recommend waiting for the flint dust to disperse before inhaling (flint takes 2-3 seconds to burn off). Don't inhale the dust.

The Ital Hempwick we offer does not produce flint dust of course. The Ital Hempwick must be ignited with a lighter. Also, we have brought back the awesome Lotus lighter now called the VaporGenie Lighter! Visit our Hempwicks and Lighters products page here. 

ABSTRACT: Cytotoxicity of the rare earth metals cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium in vitro: comparisons with cadmium in a pulmonary macrophage primary culture system.
Palmer, R J : Butenhoff, J L : Stevens, J B
Environ-Res. 1987 Jun; 43(1): 142-56
The rare earth metals cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium each were evaluated in an in vitro cytotoxicity assay system using adult, male Sprague-Dawley rat pulmonary alveolar macrophages. Both the soluble chloride form of these metals and their insoluble metal oxides were studied. For comparison purposes, the cytotoxicities of cadmium chloride and cadmium oxide were also quantified in this test system. In general, regardless of the cytotoxicity parameter measured, i.e., cell viability, lysosomal enzyme leakage, or changes in cell surface morphology, cadmium was more toxic to these cells than were the rare earth metals. Of the rare earth metals studied, lanthanum chloride (lethal concentration LC50 = 52 microM), cerium chloride (LC50 = 29 microM), and neodymium oxide (LC50 = 101 microM) displayed significant cytotoxicity in this test system. Cadmium chloride exhibited an LC50 value of 28 microM, and cadmium oxide 15 microM. These findings suggest that rare earth metal fumes should be considered as cytotoxic to lung tissue and therefore potentially fibrogenic.

Want to read all the gory, geeky details of this study? Download the full paper HERE.

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