Researchers of "vaping disease" believe they already have the key to the problem: vitamin E acetate
After weeks of analysis, researchers of the "strange disease related to electronic cigarettes" that has already affected 215 people in the US (and caused the death of one) seem to have tightened the siege on a single substance. As reported by the Washington Post, the substance in question appears to be an oil derived from vitamin E.
After ruling out the infectious disease, the researchers were trying to identify contaminants that may be behind the poisoning. From what we know so far, these oils have become the number one suspects, being found in all the preparations consumed by the sick (the vast majority of them in cannabis products for vaping).
From "mysterious illness" to "general poisoning"
The oils derived from Vitamin E are commonly used in cosmetics and nutritional supplements. However, its use for inhalation was not approved. Professor Michelle Francl at Bryn Mawr College explained to the Washington Post that it could act as a fat coating the lungs.
The researchers found that although this product is not found in nicotine products on the market, it did appear (and at "very high levels") in "almost all cannabis-containing samples" analyzed in the research.
From the first days, some experts pointed out that the problem could be found in certain cannabis oils sold illegally and the authorities had issued an alert warning the use of illegally modified or commercialized eliquids. However, given the lack of records and the absence of common causes to clarify in epidemiological surveys, the North American CDC launched a national call to analyze as many cases as possible.
Despite the fact that epidemiological surveys and analyzes seem to point to oils derived from Vitamin E, we will have to wait for the investigation to finish to confirm that this substance is indeed the lowest common denominator of this massive poisoning.
Images | Mike Wren, NYS Department of Health