When made at home (which is strongly discouraged), wax is to marijuana as freebasing is to cocaine or heroin and what the shake-and-bake method is to meth. In other words, very, very dangerous. When using butane to make wax, its vapors can fill a room and ignite with the smallest of sparks, just like gas.
Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital told Fox L.A. in August that he and his colleagues had seen nearly 20 wax explosion victims in Southern California since the beginning of the year. He went on to call it an "epidemic."
In June, an explosion during an amateur attempt to make wax sent four teens, ages 15 to 18, to the hospital in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The explosion was powerful enough to blow out windows and trigger the sprinkler system in the condo where it occured.
Earlier this year, the DEA issued a warning about the dangers of making ear wax following a string of wax-related fires in San Diego. Special Agent Amy Roderick said that people are "[looking] it up on the YouTube, [seeing] how to make it, [and then] doing it all day with fumes filling their house," prompting explosions. In February, FEMA released a bulletin to help responders identify evidence of BHO production.
Following two early October explosions in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle compared the rise of wax explosions to the outbreak of meth lab explosions that racked the U.S. years ago.