Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm not eating any food that has a disease named after it

To the Hazards of Processed Food file add this: popcorn with artificial butter flavor, associated with "popcorn worker's lung."

It seems that a high exposure to artificial popcorn butter can make popcorn workers very sick indeed. Here's an excerpt from a recent article in The Washington Post:

"Also known as popcorn workers lung, because it has turned up in workers at microwave-popcorn factories, the disease destroys the lungs. A transplant is the only cure.

Since 2001, academic studies have shown links between the disease and a chemical used in artificial butter flavor called diacetyl. Flavoring manufacturers have paid out more than $100 million as a result of lawsuits by people sick with popcorn workers lung over the past five years. One death from the disease has been confirmed.

Even less is known about the health effects of eating diacetyl in butter-flavored popcorn, or breathing the fumes after the bag is microwaved."

OSHA and the EPA do not have our backs on this one, so I'm blogging about this as a public service message to my 2 or 3 readers. Here is a comprehensive article about lab tests and our government's failure to regulate this chemical. An excerpt:

"In the middle of 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a study on the chemicals released in the popping and opening of packages of microwave popcorn was underway and was expected to be completed by the end of that year. The EPA has yet to disclose the results of that study."

I wonder what the lungs of movie concession stand workers look like.


Theresa said...

Popcorn worker's lung? Gross! I'm glad I don't even have a microwave, let alone microwave popcorn!

Vegetation said...

Wow, that's scary. Off to the cupboard to chuck the last bag of the kids popcorn out!! I'll cook it myself from now on me thinks.