The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Vaping Leads to 14 Hospitalizations in Two States
The number of young people needing hospitalization due to vaping in Wisconsin and Illinois continues to climb after 14 young people in those two states were admitted for breathing problems, health officials from both states announced last week, as CNN reported.
Seven other cases are also under investigation in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Services said in a statement, while issuing a warning that the department strongly advises people to refrain from using e-cigarettes.
"We are currently interviewing patients, all of whom reported recent vaping," said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, in the DHS statement. "Our disease investigators continue to gather information about the names and types of vape products that were used in hopes of determining a common link. We strongly urge people to avoid vaping products and e-cigarettes. Anyone—especially young people who have recently vaped—experiencing unexplained breathing problems should see a doctor."
The Centers for Disease Control has now joined the investigation.
All of the patients had severe lung damage, and presented with symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and weight loss. The severity of illness has ranged, with some needing medical assistance to breathe. Most patients have improved, but it is unknown if they will suffer long-term effects from the damage, according to Gizmodo.
Another Wisconsin man in his mid-20s was put in a medically induced coma after using a vape cartridge containing THC that he bought on the street, according to Fox6 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It caused trauma to his heart and lungs.
The 11 teenagers who were hospitalized in Wisconsin were normally healthy teenagers, "and they were coming in with severe respiratory illnesses, and in some cases, they actually had to go to the intensive care unit and were placed on ventilators," said Thomas Haupt, a respiratory disease epidemiologist with Wisconsin's Department of Health Services, to CNN.
In both Illinois and Wisconsin, doctors remain unclear what caused the severe respiratory reactions. The only link so far is vaping "but we don't know what they vaped, where they got their vaping liquids, all this needs to be determined at this point," said Haupt, as CNN reported.
Doctors at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where most of the hospitalized teens were treated, issued a warning that echoed the state's Department of Health Services.
"Vaping in teenagers is something that's harming our kids and we want that to be loud and clear," said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer, as Fox6 News reported. "We don't have lot of information about the long-term effects and sometimes even the short-term effects."
The explosion of vaping amongst teenagers has forced the FDA to usher in stricter regulations around e-cigarettes and their related products, while certain municipalities like San Francisco are trying to push through strict bans on using them in public spaces, as Gizmodo reports.
The regulations come as the scientific community starts to sound the alarm bells on e-cigarettes. Last year, a committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said there is "conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances," as CNN reported.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."
By Grace Francese
Outbreaks of potentially toxic algae are fouling lakes, rivers and other bodies of water across the U.S. Nationally, news reports of algae outbreaks have been on the rise since 2010.