There was an article posted today by the Associate Press warning consumers that the fumes from microwaved popcorn could actually cause cancer. It has been known for sometime that exposure to workers in popcorn plants can lead to “popcorn lung” which has actually spurred lawsuits from hundreds of workers. The chemical in suspicion is diacetyl which is used in the artificial butter flavor.
This is, however, the first case of a consumer being affected by the lung disease by consuming popcorn. Keep in mind this person consumed an extrordinary amount of popcorn (several times a day) but then again I used to work at T-Mobile where co-workers had microwaved popcorn at least once a day.
So, the chances of the average microwave popcorn consumer have to be pretty minute when it comes to contracting this lung disease. I think the bigger issue to consider is what exposure to this chemical (and the thousands of other chemicals in processed foods) does in tiny amounts over a long period of time. I feel like the additive nag over here but I can’t say enough times how bad artificial colors and flavors are. And the interesting thing is that all of these things are approved by the FDA to be safe. I won’t get started on my opinion on that.
Whatever your opinion, think twice about taking a big whiff of that popcorn when you open the bag…