Tests of lung samples taken from 29 patients with vaping-related injuries suggest all contained Vitamin E acetate, a discovery US officials described on Friday as a "breakthrough" in the investigation of the nationwide outbreak that has topped 2,000 cases.
During their press conference Friday, CDC officials unveiled the lab results of 29 patients with EVALI from across the U.S. All of their lungs showed the presence of vitamin E acetate, while other chemicals possibly found in vaping products that could have caused these injuries, such as plant or mineral oil, were nowhere to be seen.
But they cautioned they can not rule out all other toxic substances, and it may take animal studies to clearly show vitamin E acetate causes the lung damage that's been seen.
Vitamin E used in pills is harmless for internal or dermal use. But when it is heated and inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung function. Nicotine metabolites were detected in 16 of 26 patient specimens.
President Trump on Monday said he plans to meet with representatives of the vaping industry, as well as medical professionals and state politicians, as the White House considers a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday 149 people nationwide have become ill from vaping.
The new report was based on data from samples of lung fluid taken from 29 patients, including two who died.
More than 2,000 US e-cigarette users were diagnosed with pulmonary disease in the United States this year. "Children's health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!" he wrote on Twitter. The investigation has found that many of these products patients used were bought online or received through friends or family, rather than through vaping shops or at licensed THC dispensaries.
In September, the Trump administration announced that it was working on a policy that would ban the sale of all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol. Nearly 85 % of lung injury patients within the nationwide outbreak have reported utilizing products containing THC.
The chemical is found in vitamin supplements and skin creams and is perfectly safe in those applications. The agency previously had recommended that people abstain from all e-cigarette and vaping products, but CDC narrowed its recommendation last month. The Department of Health also asks retailers to immediately stop selling vapor products known to contain vitamin E acetate.