US Vaping Illnesses Linked to Vitamin E Acetate, C.D.C. Says
CDC says a toxic compound may be responsible for vaping illnesses
The Center for Disease Control is edging closer to an explanation for vaping-related lung illnesses. The agency has determined that vitamin E acetate, a compound present in all 29 lung tissue samples obtained from patients, is a "potential toxin of concern." The chemical is used to dilute liquid in e-cigarettes and vaping products that include THC, and is found in some food as well as cosmetic products like skin cream. It doesn't normally causeThere were other ingredients in the samples, although they didn't appear as consistently. THC surfaced in 23 out of the samples, while nicotine appeared in 16.
Vitamin E acetate, an ingredient added to THC-based products, has been identified as a “very strong culprit” in the vaping-related lung injuries that have sickened 2,051 people and killed 39, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.
But the agency left open the possibility that other chemicals or toxins could also be causing the severe respiratory ailments.
The report is based on finding the vitamin compound in fluid samples taken from the lungs of 29 patients who had the lung disease.
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“For the first time, we have detected a potential toxin of concern, vitamin E acetate, from biological samples from patients,” with lung damage linked to vaping, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said at a news briefing. The samples, she said, “provided evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury in the lungs.”
Samples taken from the patients were also tested for plant oils, petroleum distillates like mineral oil and other potentially harmful substances, which were “notably not detected,” the C.D.C. said. The findings are being published in Friday’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
About 70 percent of the patients are male, 79 percent are younger than 35 and 86 percent say that they have vaped THC.
The FDA learned of an E. coli outbreak in September. Six weeks later, the agency finally announced it.
The outbreak, announced on Halloween, sickened 23 people across 12 states from July 12 to Sept. 8, according to the FDA. No patients died of their illnesses, and officials say there is no ongoing public health risk. “When romaine lettuce was identified as the likely source of the outbreak, the available data at the time indicated that the outbreak was not ongoing and romaine lettuce eaten by sick people was past its shelf life and no longer available for sale,” the FDA wrote Thursday.
Many of the products used by those who became ill were illicitly obtained, public health experts have said, by patients who bought them from friends or on the street. Vaping oils typically include other additives, solvents and flavor enhancers. Vitamin E acetate is sometimes added to dilute the THC to increase profits or as a thickening agent. Health investigators have said since nearly the beginning of the outbreak in mid-August that some ingredients, including vitamin E acetate, could be responsible for some of the lung illness cases.
State health officials in New Yorkfrom several samples collected in August that were analyzed by the Wadsworth Center lab.
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