Thursday, September 6, 2007

Popcorn worker's lung

I've always hated the fake pseudo-buttery stuff on microwave popcorn. It gives me a fairly splitting headache, and this happens a lot in a large office. Someone always seems to live off the cheapest microwave popcorn they can get. Don't get me wrong. I like popcorn, and even fairly buttery stuff, just not the synthetic butter stuff. Anyway, for years its been a known lung disease causing agent in factory workers. Oddly, no one I have mentioned this to cares at all. Even those who are wildly paranoid about other food safety issues. But, finally, a manufacturer is giving up on adding it to their product at all! Yea!
ConAgra has decided to drop diacetyl, a flavoring it adds to its microwave popcorn, as doctors have indicated there may be a raised risk of developing bronchiolitis obliterans, a type of lung disease. ConAgra is the largest microwave popcorn supplier in the world... ...Diacetyl gives popcorn its butter taste. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has long advised that when used as an artificial butter flavoring one should avoid inhaling it over a long period. Bronchiolitis obliterans, an uncommon and serious lung disease, has been found in workers of several factories that produce artificial butter flavorings. Experts say that young, healthy, non-smoking male workers are the most susceptible. In medical circles bronchiolitis obliterans is often termed "popcorn worker's lung". However, any worker who works with diacetyl has a higher risk of developing the disease, compared to the rest of the population. A popcorn worker in Missouri, USA, was awarded $2.7 million in July 2005, as a result of developing bronchiolitis obliterans from inhaling diacetyl at work. There are two bills in the California Legislature to ban the use of diacetyl.

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