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CDC may have found a potential cause for vaping deaths - CNET

CDC may have found a potential cause for vaping deaths - CNET
CDC may have found a potential cause for vaping deaths - CNET

Analysis of lung fluid collected from 29 patients shows the presence of vitamin E acetate.

Toshiro Shimada/Getty Images

Federal health officials have reportedly found vitamin E acetate in the lung fluid of more than two-dozen patients diagnosed with the mysterious vaping-related illness that's so far sickened over 2,000 people and killed 39. Vitamin E acetate is an additive in some THC-containing products. The announcement doesn't officially rule out that other possible ingredients may be causing the lung injuries, but a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no other potential toxins were detected in its tests.

"This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries," the CDC said in a post Friday. The agency added that it "continues to recommend that people should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers."

Vitamin E acetate was discovered in the lung fluid samples of 29 patients from 10 states, according to the CDC. THC was found in 82% of the samples, and nicotine was identified in 62% of the samples. The CDC also tested the samples for other chemicals commonly found or added to THC products, like mineral oil, terpenes and more, but none were detected in the samples. 

Over the past year, vaping has gained international attention. Once seen by some as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, or a way to stop smoking, vaping began making people sick. The CDC opened an investigation in August as the number of those who'd fallen ill continued to rise, and bans went into effect overseas, with China halting the sale of e-cigarettes online. 

The CDC wasn't immediately available for further comment about the vitamin E findings.

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