As vaping-related lung illnesses spike, investigators eye contaminants

State and federal health authorities are focusing on the role of contaminants or counterfeit substances as a likely cause of vaping-related lung illnesses — now up to 354 possible cases in 29 states, nearly double the number reported to be under investigation last week, The Washington Post has learned.

vape cartridges

Officials are narrowing the possible culprits to adulterants in vaping products purported to have THC, the component in marijuana that makes users high, as well as adulterants in nicotine vaping products.

The sudden onset of these mysterious illnesses and the patients’ severe and distinctive symptoms have led investigators to focus on contaminants, rather than standard vaping products that have been in wide use for many years.

The investigation is “starting to point to what solvents are being used, and that can vary a lot” — especially in counterfeit or black-market products, including potentially mislabeled solvents that consumers buy themselves to make do-it-yourself “home brews,” said an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is heading the investigation.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration issued a statement Friday morning warning that “anyone who does use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street (e.g., e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids) and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.” ….

….read more at Washington Post

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