Popcorn Lung: Risks of Diacetyl in Microwave Popcorn
Medical complications can arise from consumption of and exposure to certain hazardous chemical flavorings used by the food industry. Recent studies indicate that the inhalation of chemicals used in flavoring microwave popcorn can result in respiratory damage to frequent consumers and employees involved in the manufacturing of the popcorn. This respiratory condition is called Bronchiolitis Obliterans, which has been coined ‘popcorn lung’, and can result in life-long (and sometimes life threatening) health complications.
Many popcorn companies have used a butter flavoring chemical called Diacetyl in the manufacturing of their popcorn. Inhalation of diacetyl has been linked to respiratory problems in laboratories studies with rats. Some scientists believe that exposure to diacetyl has similar effects on humans, specifically causing the condition called Bronchiolitis Obliterans. Bronchiolitis Obliterans, or popcorn lung, results from the inflammation of the bronchioles in the lungs. The inflammation can cause scarring and blockage of the airways, reducing lung capacity. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dry cough, wheezing and fatigue. The condition is not reversible, but with timely intervention and decreased exposure to the irritant, the condition may be controlled.
In response to these scientific findings, many popcorn manufacturers have removed diacetyl from their popcorn. However, prolonged exposure may have already resulted in permanent lung damage in consumers and factory workers. Additionally, more recent studies of diacetyl have caused concerns that this chemical may also cause protein clumping in the brain which could be a cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is important that consumers and workers exposed to potentially harmful chemicals be aware of the risks. If you think you have been exposed to this diacetyl in microwave popcorn then it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney. A Kentucky personal injury attorney can help guide you through the complexities of a chemical exposure lawsuit. Please email Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, to discuss your case today. You may also call Brett at (502) 242-8877.