The Mayo Clinic in Arizona tested 17 lung biopsies from patients and victims around the country and found their injuries were likely caused by “direct toxicity or tissue damage from noxious chemical fumes,” ABC 15 Arizona reported Wednesday.
“It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents,” said Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona, underlining the cause as “toxic byproducts” within vape liquids.
“Everyone should recognize that vaping is not without potential risks, including life-threatening risks, and I think our research supports that,” Larsen said, calling for immediate regulation of the industry.
Over 800 Americans have fallen ill after using THC and/or nicotine vape cartridges. The exact causes of the respiratory illness are still under investigation, but it is suspected that major toxicity occurs when THC and/or nicotine are mixed with other chemicals. On Wednesday a man, identified only as an adult from the eastern part of the state of Alabama became the 17th person to die in the nationwide vaping-related epidemic.
According to the CDC, about 77% of those affected by the vaping-linked illness reported using THC-containing products. Almost 70% of the affected are male.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised people to refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, especially those containing THC.