Possible chemical culprit found in vaping illness outbreak

November 9, 2019 in Alabama

This Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 photo shows a vitamin E acetate sample during a tour of the Medical Marijuana Laboratory of Organic and Analytical Chemistry at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y. On Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said fluid extracted from 29 lung injury patients who vaped contained the chemical compound in all of them. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are reporting a breakthrough in their investigation into the cause of an outbreak of vaping illnesses.

A government lab found the same chemical compound in lung fluid from 29 patients. The compound — vitamin E acetate — was previously found in vaping fluid used by many of those who got sick.

But officials said Friday that this is more direct evidence that the chemical may be to blame.

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.

More than 2,000 Americans who use electronic cigarettes have gotten sick this year, and at least 40 have died.

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