For the last few weeks, young and very sick people have been turning up at hospitals all over the country with troubling lung symptoms.
We recently reported that some state health officials have proposed that solvent known as Vitamin E acetate could be the cause of all this. Others have suggested certain brands and different ingredient combinations that could be responsible for the epidemic, but the CDC has yet to narrow it down to a specific product or additive for us.
As of October 1, 2019, there are 805 cases of acute onset vaping-related lung injury throughout 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The death toll is up to 16 now – two in California, Kansas, and Oregon, and one in each of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nebraska, and the most recent, New Jersey and Virginia.
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“I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak,” Virginia’s state health commissioner, Dr. M. Norman Oliver, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Seeking answers, NBC News commissioned a study in which they recruited one of the most prominent cannabis testing labs in the nation, CannaSafe, to check 18 samples obtained from both legal dispensaries and black market dealers.
According to CannaSafe’s report, the three samples that came from legal dispensaries in California came up clean – no pesticides or fungicides, heavy metals, or residual solvents like Vitamin E acetate. Out of the remaining 15 samples, 13 contained vitamin E and 10 tested positive for something even scarier – hydrogen cyanide. Technically, they contained a fungicide called myclobutanil, but this can convert to hydrogen cyanide when burned or vaporized.
“You certainly don’t want to be smoking [inhaling] cyanide,” said Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe. “I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it. It’s very disturbing and can cause a very toxic effect on the lungs.”
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