Vaping products are fueling a public health crisis, with 12 reported deaths and over 800 lung injuries and illnesses reported by federal officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked most of the patients to using vapes containing THC, but no single substance connects every case.
In a shocking report, NBC News tested 10 THC vape pens from unlicensed dealers and all 10 tested positive for a myclobutanil, pesticide that can turn into hydrogen cyanide when burned.
Cannasafe, a Callifornia cannabis testing company, tested three vape pens from a licensed dispensary which contained no heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like Vitamin E, a chemical that cuts cannabis potency in vape pens.
“You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide,” Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, told NBC News. “I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it.”
Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital, said the presence of myclobutanil was “disturbing” and would “cause a very toxic effect on the lungs” when smoked.
While the crisis continues, the CDC has warned people to avoid vaping, especially those containing THC. The public appears to be listening: Vape saleds have dropped as much as 60% in some states in the last several weeks.