• 'Very strong culprit' connected to deadly vaping-related illnesses identified, CDC says

    By: Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Health officials said Friday that they've found evidence to suggest vitamin E acetate might be a "very strong culprit" in the slew of deadly vaping-related illnesses reported nationwide.

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    "For the first time, we have detected a potential toxin of concern, vitamin E acetate, from biological samples from patients," Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters at a news briefing, according to The New York Times.

    Vitamin E acetate was found in the fluids of 29 people who fell ill as part of the outbreak, CDC officials said, according to The Washington Post.

    “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,” Schuchat said, according to the Post.

    Vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, but inhaling oily droplets can be harmful. It has recently been used as a thickener in vaping fluid, particularly in black market vape cartridges.

    Federal and state investigators previously said they were investigating whether contaminants in black-market THC vaping cartridges might be behind the pulmonary illnesses. Symptoms of the vaping-related illnesses have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

    Thousands of people across the country -- including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and every state but Alaska -- have fallen ill in recent months after using e-cigarette or vaping products, according to the CDC. Health officials have confirmed 39 deaths related to the illnesses in 24 states, including Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. 

    Officials said patients who died after reporting vaping-related illnesses were between 17 and 75 years old.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Previous coverage from KIRO 7:

    11/4/19: Seattle man dies on his honeymoon; family blames vaping

    10/10/19: State Board of Health votes to ban flavored vaping products

    10/11/19: State ban on sale of flavored vape does not apply to tribes, but some tribes declare own ban

    10/14/19: Enforcing Washington’s vape laws: Efforts to keep illegal, counterfeit products off the market

    10/16/19: Four more vaping-related lung injuries reported in Washington state

    10/17/19: King County sues Juul over teen vaping epidemic

     9/30/19: State launches app to help young people quit vaping

     9/26/19: Marijuana vaping product sales sink amid lung disease scare

     9/26/19: First vaping-related lung illness confirmed in Pierce County

     9/25/19: Seattle THC oil extractor shares process in light of growing vaping cases

     9/23/19: Pierce County man files vaping lawsuit

     9/20/19: Fourth lung illness linked to vaping confirmed in Washington

     9/16/19: Health officials: Two new cases of vaping-related illness confirmed in Washington

     9/11/19: Health officials: First case of vaping-related illness confirmed in Washington state

     

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