Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus pumilus could potentially cause inflammation of the lungs, as well as opportunistic infections, said coauthor Steven Foley, PhD, research microbiologist, the National Center for Toxicological Research, US FDA.
Other Bacillus species also present health concerns, said Foley. “Some species have been identified as causative agents in spice-related outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting. Additionally, they produce a mild toxin which, in large quantities could cause illness.