New research also analyzes metals in vapor from tank-style vapes

According to the CDC, no one substance has caused every case of what the public is calling the vaping disease. However, that is essentially linking one product, vapes, with the disease, despite the unknown cause.

Meanwhile, NBC News published the disturbing results of a test that confirms what patterns across the nation have been suggesting. Specifically: black market THC products contain dangerous products, while licensed, regulated products do not.

The NBC vape test

The NBC vape test has just proven that thanks to decades of criminalization, Americans are now buying THC vape pens without being able to be sure what’s really in them.

NBC News commissioned CannaSafe, among the leading cannabis testing facilities in the US, to test 18 THC cartridges. NBC obtained three of the cartridges from legal dispensaries in California, and the remaining 15 from unlicensed dealers.

The findings are alarming at best.

CannaSafe found no solvents such as Vitamin E, pesticides, or heavy metals in the three legal cartridges.

However, 13 of the other 15 illegal THC cartridges contained Vitamin E. In addition, CannaSafe analyzed 10 of those black market vape cartridges for pesticides, and all 10 tested positive for myclobutanil.

That’s a fungicide that turns into hydrogen cyanide when heated. To be clear, that is very toxic in human lungs. Vitamin E is also known to harm lungs.

So, since both of these are knowns, is there any way that any regulated state program is allowing these additives? It seems unlikely, and NBC didn’t find anything like that.

That’s not so metal

Meanwhile, although the NBC vape test is not about heavy metals, it’s now seeming like that might be an issue in some situations. New research from UC Riverside scientists indicates that certain tank-style vapes might increase the concentration of metals in vapors.

The scientists studied six tank-style electronic cigarettes for 19 metals. All had metals in their vapor that originated in the atomizers. They also found that the model with fewest metal atomizer parts had the fewest metals.

The researchers detected aluminum, copper, nickel, calcium, chromium, iron, lead, magnesium, silicon, tin, and zinc from atomizing unit components. Concentrations of chromium, lead, and nickel in particular exceeded OSHA levels and were found to be a health hazard.

However, the concentrations of the metals increased as the voltage of the vapes went up. The researchers cite atomizing units that reach temperatures higher than 300 C or 572 F as those that can produce harmful metals, so careful shopping should eliminate this hazard for consumers.

In other words, like the NBC vape test results: this is not about vaping, generally. This is about specific products to avoid.