This morning on TODAY, 10/4/2019, we learn the vaping crisis sweeping the nation is nowhere soon coming to a stop. At least 1000 people have either been hospitalized or have died. Most of these are from vaping bootleg products that contain cyanide and/or pesticides. Most of these products are being made and shipped from China.
NBC News commissioned laboratory tests of knock-off marijuana vapes that found a pesticide linked to hydrogen cyanide in 10 out of 10 products. These products are fueling a public health crisis.
Fabian Castillo, 19, from southern California was using a vaping pen for a few months to calm his anxiety when he suddenly couldn’t breathe or talk. After being rushed to the emergency room, he was told he had severe damage to his lungs. After 9 days in an induced coma, he still cannot breathe properly.
“We are dealing with a new epidemic,” said Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Long Island, New York.
The FDA is struggling to get to the bottom of these contaminated items coming into the US that mostly contain THC and vitamin E-acetate that may be responsible for these outbreaks. Americans have available a huge amount of assorted black-marked pens that are available in stores and online without any knowledge of what is actually in them.
This black-market industry has grown to over a billion dollars in just a short time. However; the laboratory tests NBC commissioned from legal distilleries in California contained no heavy metals, pesticides, or residual solvents like vitamin-E solvent. The unregulated cartridges all contained myclobutanil, a fungicide that can transform into hydrogen cyanide when burned.
“You certainly don’t want to be smoking 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.”
At hospitals all over the US, young men and women are presenting severe symptoms at emergency rooms that ultimately lead to severe lung damage and many ending up on respirators. Sadly, 12 have died.
“This all starts in China where you can get the empty cartridges both for the THC market and the nicotine market, as well as the additives, flavorings, and thickeners that are being put into these cartridges alongside the THC oil,” David Downs (bureau chief of Leafly) said.
“It’s a very deep, mature, and advanced industry that starts in China and ends in our own backyard.”
The true extent of spreading across the nation could just be the beginning. Doctors across the nation are scrambling to find the exact cause and the FDA is determined to get to the source of the makers putting these toxins into the bodies of Americans. Most are under the age of 18.
Ref. TODAY, today.com
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