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article imageTests show hydrogen cyanide in some bootleg vaping devices

By Karen Graham     Sep 28, 2019 in Health
As America's vaping crisis continues, 10 unregulated vaping cartridges have tested positive for pesticides—including a fungicide that can turn into hydrogen cyanide if burned.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that the number of vaping illness cases may change frequently - and this is borne out by the latest confirmed figures showing 12 deaths and 505 patients in 48 states being treated for vaping-related illnesses.
The CDC's latest findings from the investigation into lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, suggest products containing THC plays a role in the outbreak. About 77 percent of patients reported using THC-containing products; while 36 percent reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.
“We are dealing with a new epidemic,” said Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, New York, on Long Island, reports CNBC News.
While no one substance has been identified as being linked to all of the cases of vaping-related lung disease, some state health officials have said that Vitamin E acetate, a solvent used to "cut" cannabis for use in vape pens, may be responsible for the outbreak.
A vape shop or lounge.
A vape shop or lounge.
Lindsay Fox from Newport beach, USA (CC BY 2.0)
Blackmarket vaping devices
NBC News commissioned one of the nation's leading cannabis testing facilities to test a sampling of THC cartridges — 18 in all — obtained from legal dispensaries and unlicensed dealers.
Of the three purchased from legal dispensaries in California, the CannaSafe testing company found no heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like Vitamin E. However, 13 out of the other 15 samples from black market THC cartridges were found to contain Vitamin E acetate.
Here's the shocker - CannaSafe also tested 10 of the unregulated cartridges for pesticides. All 10 tested positive. The products 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." This is not the first time this news has been reported, though.
Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control report  Evaluation of Chemical Ex...
Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control report, Evaluation of Chemical Exposures at a Vape Shop Date: July 2017
CDC
On September 10, Digital Journal reported on the finding of pesticides in some vaping products from the BelCosta Labs, a cannabis testing lab in California. Myron Ronay, the CEO of BelCosta Labs said the finding of unsafe levels of myclobutanil — a fungicide - is seen frequently in the underground market.
So why is myclobutanil so dangerous? When myclobutanil is heated, it releases toxic fumes, one of which is hydrogen cyanide. This fungicide has been found in any number of illegal or black market vaping devices containing THC.
E-cigarettes should be banned from indoor public spaces   according to the World Health Organization
E-cigarettes should be banned from indoor public spaces, according to the World Health Organization
Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP/File
A supply chain that starts in China
Less than 15 miles from the UCLA Health Center lies a 12-block area in Los Angeles that is known for its vape shops. You can get anything in the shops, including empty cartridges and packaging. All a person needs is a supply of THC and some kind of solvent to produce their own bootleg vape products.
David Downs, the California bureau chief for Leafly, an online publication devoted to the cannabis industry, said downtown Los Angeles acts as the final destination for a supply chain that originates in China.
“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,” Downs said.
“It’s a very deep, mature, and advanced industry that starts in China and ends in our own backyard.”
More about Hydrogen cyanide, vaping devices, bootleg devices, Thc, Pesticides
 
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