Episode 64 - Special Report: Vapegate!

Mainstream media are blaming one culprit for the illnesses and deaths from tainted vapor cartridges, but journalist Foster Winans reports that there's another, more common, deadly agent that is being overlooked.

 
 

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The epidemic of casualties from vaporizing black market cannabis oils is scary, lethal and, according to the CDC, on the rise. The lung tissues of patients exposed to these oils resemble chemical burn injuries that you would see on the lungs of people exposed to industrial toxic chemical spills, according to Dr. Brandon T. Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ.

The possible cause of these illnesses has so far been blamed on a thickening agent, Vitamin E acetate, that unscrupulous manufacturers have been putting into knock off cartridges and dumping on the market for half the price of legal and tested products. But this interview with journalist Foster Winans points to another possible culprit, the fungicide myclobutanil. When heated above 400F in a vapor pen, myclobutanil decomposes into hydrogen cyanide – the same deadly poison the Nazi’s used in gas chambers.

Interestingly and problematically, myclobutanil is legal and in wide use on a wide range of crops, fruit trees, and vines in the US and China. (It’s commonly used to prevent mold and fungus on wine grapes, which are grown in conditions similar to cannabis in California). Myclobutanil is deemed safe because it is washed off after produce is harvested. 

The problem with using it on cannabis is that harvested buds are not washed. So when the THC in contaminated marijuana is concentrated, so are the poisons Winans has reported that a lab in California found that some of the illegal oils have 7,300 times California’s limit for myclobutanil on marijuana. Once these toxic oils are inserted into vapor cartridges, they are packaged to imitate popular brands and sold by underground dealers at a big discount. Prime target markets are high school and college-aged men.

In this illuminating podcast Winans describes how he learned about the myclobutanil poisoning and why California regulators aren’t doing much to stop its spread. (One reason: lack of federal legalization makes it almost impossible for state regulators to track tainted black market cannabis products that make their way across the country).

PLEASE SHARE THIS PODCAST AND WINANS’ OTHER REPORTING WITH YOUR NETWORKS AND ANY NEWS OUTLETS YOU ARE IN TOUCH WITH. MAINSTREAM MEDIA ARE NOT FOLLOWING THIS POTENTIALLY EXPLOSIVE LEAD.

Joe Dolce