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Vaping-related illnesses most likely 'direct chemical injury,' Mayo Clinic study finds

Posted at 3:32 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 17:36:13-04

A study released by the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday showed that lung illnesses from vaping are most likely a "direct chemical injury," similar to the dangers of being exposed to toxic chemical fumes and poisonous gases.

The study, which reviewed lung biopsies from 17 patents suspected to have a vaping-related lung injury, did not find evidence of injuries caused by the accumulation of lipids, such as mineral oils. The injuries, instead, were likely caused "by direct toxicity or tissue damage from noxious chemical fumes," a news release from the Mayo Clinic said.

"While we can't discount the potential role of lipids, we have not seen anything to suggest this is a problem caused by lipid accumulation in the lungs," said Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona. "Instead, 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."

The number of vaping-related illnesses in Colorado since Aug. 1 has risen to nine, according to new data released from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment this week. Six of those cases have resulted in hospitalizations. Seven of the cases have been male patients and two have been female patients, and the average age of the patients has been about 25. Officials have said they are still working to determine the cause of the illnesses and are urging people to stop vaping altogether until they figure that out.

Nationwide, more than 800 vaping-related lung injury cases have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control, including 12 deaths in 10 states. In the 17 biopsies reviewed by the Mayo Clinic, all of the patients had vaped and two had died. More than 70% had vaped with marijuana or cannabis oils.