Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Popcorn may have caused lung disease

September 5, 2007


— Consumers, not just factory workers, may be in danger from fumes from buttery flavoring in microwave popcorn, according to a warning letter to federal regulators from a doctor at a leading lung research hospital.

A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center has written to federal agencies to say doctors there believe they have the first case of a consumer who developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn several times a day for years.

"We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," cautioned Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

The July letter, made public Tuesday by a public health policy blog, refers to a potentially fatal disease commonly called popcorn lung that has been the subject of lawsuits by hundreds of workers at food factories exposed to chemicals used for flavoring.


Ragingbear 10 years, 8 months ago

This headline is misleading. It's not the popcorn causing it. It's the artificial crap the movie theaters pour all over it.

loislane 10 years, 8 months ago

Now that's a surprise....a misleading LJW headline!

Ragingbear 10 years, 8 months ago

Future headline in LJW- "Lawrence Journal World Wins Journalistic Award"...

The article would be about puppies.

Ragingbear 10 years, 8 months ago

This is what you get for replacing the original Orville Reddenbacher with that new creepy guy.

Leprechaunking13 10 years, 8 months ago

Ragingbear- they said MICROWAVEABLE popcorn not movie theatre popcorn, says nothing about movie theatre employees getting "popcorn lung"

Ragingbear 10 years, 8 months ago

It's not the stuff itself that is causing it. Movie theater employees aren't even exposed enough to worry. The big issue is the factory workers making the stuff. Apparently the fumes and dust from it are thick in the air, where it settles in the lungs and causes significant damage over time. Figure 40 hours a week exposure for 4 years or more. Just about anything can cause damage when the exposure level is that high.

Basically all that is needed is to set up the factories where workers are not exposed to the degree of dust and fumes they are now.

Besides, that stuff sucks.

Leprechaunking13 10 years, 8 months ago

You're the one who brought the movie theatres into it, but this happened to someone that just makes the stuff at home. You're telling me that Movie theatre concessions employees aren't exposed to more of the fumes than someone at their house cooking a little bag of popcorn in their microwave get serious!

mick 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm not surprised. The smell of artificial buttered popcorn can make me vomit.

staff04 10 years, 8 months ago

The chemical is diacetyl, a product used in the manufacture of microwave popcorn. The disease it causes is bronchiolitis obliterans, but they are also referring to it as "popcorn workers lung."

It isn't just the workers though--

"Rose said the ailing patient, a man whom she wouldn't identify, consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years."

I know I'm safe, since I don't consume several bags of popcorn a year, let alone in one day!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.