Butter Flavoring in Microwave Popcorn Tied to Lung Disease

  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said in a news release on March 13, 2008, that a chemical used for butter flavoring on popcorn can damage the lungs and airways of mice.
  • The chemical name is diacetyl, and it can cause lymphocytic bronchiolitis, also called “popcorn lung.”
  • This disease has been seen in workers at microwave popcorn packaging plants and also at least one consumer.
  • Two microwave popcorn makers, ConAgra Foods Inc (includes Orville Redenbacher) and Weaver Popcorn Company Inc, recently said they would stop using diacetyl.
  • The House of Representatives passed a bill last year to limit exposure to diacetyl, but the Senate has not acted upon it.

I read about the dangers of butter flavoring last year. I don’t understand why these companies haven’t already stopped using diacetyl because of this reason.

We rarely eat microwaved popcorn since we prefer the taste of hot air popped popcorn with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, plus it’s healthier. Air poppers aren’t carried in many stores, though, but they can be purchased through several online sites for around $20 and up if anyone is interested.

2 thoughts on “Butter Flavoring in Microwave Popcorn Tied to Lung Disease

  1. Wow…I didn’t know this about the butter! We eat a lot of microwave popcorn at our house….I’ll be checking the labels from now on! Thanks for posting this information.

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