The thick, winding substance that has caused chemical-like burns in a variety of vaping-related illnesses across the country was discovered at a lab in upstate New York.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1963) (CDC) announced a breakthrough, saying that researchers had discovered a potential suspect in vitamin E acetate.
The "chemical of concern" gets stuck in the lungs as it is inhaled, causing burns similar to those suffered by soldiers attacked with mustard gas during the First World War.
Since March, 2,172 Americans have been ill and at least 42 in 24 states and the nation's capital has died from diseases linked to e-cigarettes.
Good Morning America went inside the Medical Marijuana Laboratory of Organic and Analytical Chemistry at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, to learn how researchers found the "key criminal."
A laboratory at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, discovered vitamin E acetate (image) when researchers tested fluid samples from patients who "became ill from vaping-related diseases earlier this year
The oil, derived from Vitamin E, is often used as a thickening agent in steam liquid. It clings to the lungs and causes chemical-like burns similar to those suffered by soldiers attacked with mustard gas. Image: Vitamin E in a bottle, to the left and held by a reporter from Good Morning America
Vitamin E acetate has recently been used as a thickening agent in steam, especially in cannabis vape cartridges, the Associated Press reported.  Although vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or for use on the skin, inhalation of oily drops of it can be harmful.
It is sticky and stays in the lungs, so much so that Dr James Pirkle of the CDC likened it to darling.
The majority of people who became ill said that they had armed liquids containing THC, the major psychoactive component of marijuana, with many saying they got them from friends or bought them on the black market.
It was not clear why or how people got sick so scientists at the Wadsworth Center decided to run tests.
The isolated fluid samples collected from the lungs of dozens of patients, spun it, put in a bottle and extracted the oils in a special machine.
One of the substances distilled from the process was vitamin E acetate – a thick, syrupy, pale yellow substance.
The researchers warned officials at the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration that they had found a suspected goo.
"It's the same texture as cannabis and il," Dr. Victoria Derbyshire, Deputy Director of the Wadsworth Center, told Good Morning America.
Vitamin E-derived oil was found only in samples of patients who used black market products, not those who used legal medical marijuana.
But officials say they haven't turned out the oil as the only thing that makes patients sick.
According to the CDC, about 86 percent of people who have become ill reported vapor fluids containing THC.
By comparison, only 11 percent reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.
However, health officials believe that most of the diseases have come from people who are vaping a combination of the two.
Vitamin E acetate was found only in samples collected from patients using black market vapors, not legal medical marijuana. Image: A safe containing samples of patients
Since March, 42 Americans have died and 2,172 have become ill from vaping-related diseases. Photo: Vials containing fluid collected from sick patients
Most of the victims who have fallen ill are male and under 35, with the ages of those who died from 17 to 75.
There have been four deaths each confirmed in California, Illinois and Indiana; three deaths each in Georgia and Minnesota; and two deaths each confirmed in Kansas, Massachusetts, Oregon and Tennessee.
At the same time, a death has been confirmed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC.  Health officials say that teens and adolescents make up the majority of the diseases because flavored e-cigarettes were marketed to them.
My print, the e-cigarette company JUUL announced that it will no longer sell flavored skis like creme brulee, cucumber, mango, mint and fruit anywhere.
Prohibitions have been adopted in at least 5 states – including Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Rhode Island and Washington – although most are currently facing legal challenges.