US health authorities on Friday announced a breakthrough in the cause of a mysterious outbreak of steam diseases, reporting that they had a "very powerful culprit".
The same chemical compound was found in the fluid from the lungs of 29 patients across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The compound – vitamin E acetate – has already been found in a liquid from electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices used by many patients.
But this is the first time they find a common suspect in the damaged lungs of patients, officials said.
"We are in a better position with regard to having a very strong culprit," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, of the CDC.
Agency officials warned that they could not exclude all other toxic substances and that animal studies might prove necessary to clearly demonstrate that vitamin E acetate causes damage to the lungs observed.
Since March, more than 2,000 American vape victims have fallen ill, including many teenagers and young adults, and at least 40 people have died. Most cases occurred in August and September, but new cases are still reported.
Vitamin E acetate has only recently been used as a thickener in vaping fluid, especially in black market vape cartridges. While vitamin E is safe as a vitamin tablet or for use on the skin, inhalation of fat droplets can be harmful. It's sticky and stays in the lungs – Dr. Jim Pirkle from the CDC compared that to honey.
Many patients reported drinking liquids containing THC, the most provocative part of marijuana, and many said that they had bought it from friends or the black market.
Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices heat a liquid into an inhalable vapor. Most products contained nicotine, but THC vaping became more common.
According to Pirkle, thickeners such as vitamin E acetate would probably not be added systematically to nicotine liquids, which must be more liquid for vaporization.
Juul Labs, maker of the world's best selling electronic cigarette brand, issued a statement after the CDC announcement, noting that its nicotine products contain neither THC nor vitamin E compounds.
"CDC continues to recommend that people do not use electronic cigarettes or THC-containing products, especially from informal sources such as friends, family, online or online vendors," announced Friday. Federal Agency.
In September, Massachusetts banned the sale of all vaping products in the state, including those containing nicotine and marijuana, for sale for medical and recreational purposes. A doctor at the newest medical marijuana clinic in the Lehigh Valley, which opened Wednesday, told lehighvalleylive.com that nearly 50,000 patients had used their spray products without any related illnesses.
The symptoms of vaping include breathing difficulties, chest pain, fatigue and vomiting. Imaging tests show lung lesions and doctors can not find infections or other causes.
About two months ago, New York drew attention to vitamin E acetate when the state's public health laboratory found it in samples of vaping products from sick patients. In some cases, it was more than half of the liquid in the cartridges.
This chemical has also been tested in other laboratories, including a US Food and Drug Administration laboratory in Cincinnati that found vitamin E acetate in half of the more than THC.
For the last test, the CDC used fluid extracted from the lungs of 29 patients in 10 states, two of whom died. Laboratory workers searched for a range of substances found in various vaping devices, including nicotine, THC and other components of marijuana, vegetable oils, mineral oils and cutting agents used on the market. black.
It was an exhaustive list of more than 1,000 people, said Pirkle, who oversees the agency's chemical analysis labs.
The only substance that appeared in the 29 is vitamin E acetate.
"For me, what's important here is what they both found and what they did not find," said Scott Becker, head of the company. Association of Public Health Laboratories. "It's the only thing they've found."
Robert Strongin of Portland State University, who researched e-cigarettes, welcomed the CDC report but cautioned that this does not mean that the other ingredients of vaping products are safe. "They could always cause long-term damage," he said.
Pirkle, of the CDC, said that animal testing was now a priority and could produce results in a year 's time.
"We really need a study on animals to determine the causes and effects," he said.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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