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The Cost of Testing Product ???

Discussion in 'QC Research and Testing' started by Skeeter T, Nov 28, 2011.

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  1. Skeeter T

    Skeeter T Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rancho Cucamonga CA
    I don't know the answer to the following question. This is not my field of expertise, but I'm sure there are a lot people in the e-cig industry that are very interested after reading the Houston thread.

    In Small Business (SB), the cost of doing business is ALWAYS a factor. The first question probably asked by a SB owner that buys and sells nic in any form and wants to implement QC testing procedures is, "What is it going to cost?". This is a valid question because a SB owner usually doesn't initially see the benefit of spending time and money on something that they may think is not directly related to improving production.

    Let's put aside the time it takes to set-up QC procedures, investigate testing equipment, and perform the actual test(s), and consider only the initial cost of acceptable testing equipment with training and the cost to maintain the equipment. A SB owner can estimate the labor cost to operate and maintain equipment before buying the equipment, so a comparison of in-house testing cost versus an outside lab cost can be made with reasonable accuracy.

    Please chime in if you have any knowledge on this matter.
  2. tybin

    tybin ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 17, 2010
    Linda at TPA told me i could have some nic tested( i was interested in not the nic levels but what else is in it besides the nic) for 50.00 don't know if that info helps you any:unsure:
  3. Skeeter T

    Skeeter T Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rancho Cucamonga CA
    Thanx tybin. The info is is not for me. I'm just trying to help SB owners get a handle on QC costs. Now we know a little more about the outside lab cost to analyzing nic. I don't know if the TPA price is approximately what most production labs would charge, but it doesn't seem unreasonable. Can anyone verify this?
  4. Andervil

    Andervil Full Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    I work at a family owned (not my family) QC contract lab. I'm in the microbiology department...will talk about that a little later.
    Anyway, today I asked the analytical chemistry department if they ever test for %Active Ingredient, and what the cost would be. Now, the pathways to isolate the active ingredient are different/unique for each chemical, and they never had to deal with Nicotine, however, they ballparked the price for similar tests at around $250-350 (similar to Niacin). Now this is obviously not the $50 that "Linda" had talked about. I personally feel like 250-350 is a little overpriced. This is the price for drugs such as hydromorphone, oxymorphone, acetomenophen, etc. I would guess Nicotine in VG or PG should be much easier to isolate and quantify, although I'm not certain. This price might also include the identification and quantification of impurities, which would make it much more understandable. I will inquire more about it next week.

    Now in the micro lab i can speak from experience. Most people don't realize the importance of microbiological testing, but all of your creams, pills, candies, toiletry products, etc must undergo microbiological qc testing. These tests include:
    Total aerobic microbes (how much bacteria is in a gram or ml of "juice")
    Total yeast and mold (same as above, just with yeast and mold)
    Water testing (looks for the same stuff as the 2 tests above. If the vendor uses DI should be high quality DI with NO organisms)
    Preservative efficacy (if the juice has a preservative, we test the strength of the preservative by introducing bacteria into the product and seeing how well it kills it off)
    LAL (how much endotoxin is in the product- usually medical devices)
    Ames test (is the product carcinogenic/mutagenic).

    I mostly deal with the first 5. You might be wondering, why is this important to know about juice? We vape it at ~200 degrees F...shouldn't that kill everything? Yes, it should kill MOST things. But there are rare types of bacteria that can withstand temperatures of almost 250 degrees F. And you might kill the bacteria, but some bacteria produce toxins or spores that can withstand even higher temperatures. Also, think about some of that juice that drips into your mouth!?!

    So anyway, for your standard total aerobic count and total yeast and mold count, you're looking at about $50 bucks for repeat clients, and $65 for newbies. To put this in perspective, most of your Vitamins are allowed to have 3,000 CFU (colony forming units...essentially 3,000 microbes) per gram. Thats 3,000 bugs that your ingesting every time you pop in a 1000mg vitamin C. Luckily, stick with the quality vitamins and there wont be more than 1-5 bacteria in there.

    As you know from the glycerin that you buy from walmart...USP means United States Pharmacopeia...and they have their own sets of tests and specifications that the product must adhere to. USP testing is conducted on any product with an "active ingredient" or sunscreen. This stuff has to be very high quality to pass. Anything not marked with USP has a huge chance of being dirty.

    To take the total aerobic/total yeast a step further.....if you end up finding bacteria in the sample, you have to figure out if it is among the big 5 pathogenic bacteria that can cause illness and death:
    Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA is one of these)
    Pseudomonas aeurginosa
    E. coli (taco bell yayuuuhhh i love it)
    Salmonella (oral products only need to be tested for our case JUICE would qualify)
    Candida albicans (yeast...the one that causes yeast infection if im not mistaken)

    sometimes Aspergillus niger (black mold) is also sought after.

    So for a full USP test (Total aerobic, total yeast/mold, pathogen screen) we charge $135-150.

    I know most of you are interested in % Nicotine and impurities...however its important not to overlook the other side of QC testing. Micro testing will let you see which vendors are making their juices in a professional lab environment, and which vendors are making it in the kitchen sink while wafting farts into their coworkers faces.

    Now onto business... I know nobody is looking to fork over these bills to test their product if they don't have to since most juices arent regulated. But if anyone (vendor or vaper) with expendable cash/extra juice is curious to see if their juices comply with "good manufacturing practices- GMP" I'd be more than happy to conduct these tests 'unofficially' on donated products. I'd be doing this for the interest of the ECF community and not for profit. If a vendor wants their products tested 'officially', feel free to contact me and ill relay your info to the sales department of the lab. Maybe they can cut you a deal if I ask them for a personal favor.

    I'm sure i've left out a lot of info (and made many typos/incorrect statements due to rushing) if you have any questions, dont hesitate to ask.
  5. zFb-

    zFb- Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 3, 2011

    What a good idea! Did you know that pg is a perservative already? I didnt until a few days ago. My wife is a lab tech and going for higher education in her field presently. I hope venders read this and show an interest in having their product tested for quality control.
  6. Andervil

    Andervil Full Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    Interesting. And nicotine an insecticide so juices might inheritantly be clean. To combat the preservative system in products we add neutralizers and dilute the product to a point that is conducive for growth. So if there are any dormant bacteria or spores in there, they should grow after the preservative is neutralized.
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