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2019-10-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 161 references Ignore this thread
Vape Update: Health
[Comments enabled]

What we know thus far:

1. Most of the people who have gotten ill and died were vaping illegally-distributed and sold THC-containing vape products.

2. Some, but a serious minority, only vaped tobacco vapes.

Ok, now down to facts.

Both marijuana and tobacco vape "juices" must be extracted from their respective plants.  Both marijuana and tobacco are plants and both are subject to fungal infections.

There has been a specific fungicide that has been found in a set of THC vape cartridges that a news organization allegedly got from the victims of these incidents.  That fungicide, when heated, decomposes into cyanide and hydrochloric acid.

The original reports from the CDC were that they suspected "lipid" (that is, oil) injury and postulated that Vitamin-E acetate may be responsible -- a "cutting agent" used in some illicit vape products.  But further study has apparently eliminated this as the cause, never mind that this would eliminate tobacco vapes entirely since that is not used in such products; the current statement of facts includes that the lung injuries are not due to lipid coating but direct chemical insult, much as would be the case for an inhalation injury of a substance such as chlorine gas.

Now it gets interesting; to extract both nicotine and THC one uses solvents of various sorts.  Most of those are highly volatile (e.g. butane) and thus almost entirely evaporate.  Butane in particular got a bad rep because it's highly flammable and some idiots have blown themselves up trying to use it at home to make their own oil -- not exactly an unexpected outcome when you're screwing around with something roughly as volatile as natural gas, and the odds are you're stoned on top of it.  But if you light a joint -- or cigarette -- with a BIC lighter you likely inhale more butane than you could get out of a week's worth of THC oil supply and you're doing it on purpose.  So that is probably not the issue.

The bigger problem is that any other residues in the plant that are soluble in the extracting solvent and thus will also come along for the ride.  This may well explain why a small but non-zero number of tobacco vape users have gotten in trouble: The cross-border shipment of vape juices from China.

Would it surprise me if Chinese tobacco was treated with myclobutanil?

Not even a little bit.

In fact the literature identifies "brown spot", "blue mold", "frogeye" and "collar rot" as common fungal problems with tobacco.  I think it's safe to say that in the United States use of myclobutanil is not going to happen but can that be said in China?  Not necessarily; the Chinese don't give a flying **** about things like poisoning your dog food so why would they care about the tobacco?  Never mind that infected tobacco would be unmarketable here, but over there -- treat it and then turn it into vape juice and nobody's the wiser -- right up until they heat it and wind up with a lung full of hydrochloric acid and cyanide!

Stay tuned folks.....  oh, and if it turns out China is indeed the source, at least for the tobacco vape products, can I ask one question?

Shall we send Xi one big fat egg or two?

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