Microwave popcorn = lung destroyer

Add this to the list of simple pleasures that are actually, under the right circumstances, fatal.

Enviro-blog Grist reports that a common additive to microwave popcorn, diacetyl, can lead to a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans. About all you need to know about this disease is that it obviously shares a common latin root with 'obliterate'. Not a word I like to use in the same sentence as 'my lungs'.

And what does diacetyl do? It makes your popcorn taste buttery, apparently also masking the stench of impending death.

I exaggerate, of course. Diacetyl is only dangerous in high concentrations, so it most negatively affects the hapless employees who make the popcorn. Still, there is at least one case of bronchiolitis obliterans in a consumer...although he did eat a bag of nuked popcorn every day, drastically increasing his exposure to noxious snack-based vapours.

The bigger issue here is that diacetyl is recognized to be dangerous, yet no one- not even public health agencies tasked to protect us from things that destroy our lungs- has required the popcorn manufacturers to remove it from their products. Only Pop Weaver has taken diacetyl out of the mix. Orville Redenbacher and Act II are still swimming in it.

So, take it from Nunc Scio. Until our public health agencies do something about this problem, you may be wise to go for nachos.

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