Thursday, September 6, 2007

Popcorn May Cause Lung Drama

Ooh, the smell of freshly popped kernels wafts across the room forcing one to take a burning risk to jam their hands into the steamy hot microwave bag to eat the fluffy delicious snack. Popcorn's butter smell is akin to a new car smell. A giant tub of it at the movies is almost a prerequisite to enjoy a film. It does something to the consumer making them inhale deeply for long periods of time. The buttery popcorn smell is now an official risk in modern life and a potential cause of a rare lung disease. That is a popcorn lover's killer. (picture courtesy ABC/AP)
Now, the first-known case of the illness has turned up in a man who consumed large amounts of popcorn. Popcorn fanatic Wayne Watson ate about two bags daily, but now he has quit because of the havoc it reeked on his lungs.

Watson had all the symptoms of a rare disease dubbed "popcorn lung," which derives its name because it was found in popcorn plant workers exposed to a flavoring ingredient called diacetyl. Diacetyl is a natural substance heated in a factory setting to give microwave popcorn its buttery taste...

The disease normally affects popcorn factory workers who inhale large amounts of the chemical's fumes. Some workers have died from it and many have needed lung transplants to survive.

US popcorn industry was aware of the problem, but are now reacting - popping and panicking really, to remove the the buttery smell because it now affects precious, albeit addicted, consumers. Er, why not when there was an issue with their workers - they and their families were potential consumers too. All in the name of losing almighty USD dollars will many greasy corporate personhoods act. Now comes the march of spiffy non-stick press releases from the companies reacting to published news trying desperately to eradicate that addicting buttery smell from their profit and loss statements. What did the late Orville Redenbacher know and when did he know it? (picture courtesy Boston Globe)

The only good news about this is there may be a reduction of players bidding up the price of corn in the market. All that High Fructose Corn Syrup is a deadly enemy to one's health as well.

A history of popcorn is captured here by Elaine Landau for all ages in a book naturally named, Popcorn! Brian Lies does a great job with the illustrations.

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