For the first time, a chemical potentially responsible for widespread vaping-related lung injuries and deaths in the United States has been found in lung fluid from patients.
Researchers detected vitamin E acetate, widely used as a dietary supplement, in every sample of lung fluid collected from 29 patients suffering from the severe illness, health officials announced November 8 in a news briefing and a report. Vitamin E acetate is also an ingredient in some skin care products but could be toxic when inhaled.
"We are in a better place than we were two weeks ago, in terms of having one very strong culprit of concern," said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "We still have more to learn."
CDC researchers obtained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, a sample that contains fluid from the lining of the lungs, from health care workers caring for patients with the injuries, called e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, or EVALI. Twenty-nine patients from 10 states provided the specimens. Vitamin E acetate was the only chemical detected in all of the fluid samples, CDC researchers reported online November 8 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vitamin E acetate was previously identified by health officials in some vaping products used by patients (SN: 9/6/19).