Friday, September 07, 2007

Think again before reaching for that bag of popcorn


A fondness for microwave buttered popcorn may have led a 53-year-old Colorado man to develop a serious lung condition that until now has been found only in people working in popcorn plants.

Apparently, all fingers point to diacetyl, the ingredient that puts that buttery taste in microwave popcorns, as the probable culprit.

On the other hand, producers of microwave popcorn said their products were safe.

Studies show that "Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal."

Of course, this study is not conclusive at this point.


Dr. Cecile Rose, director of the occupational disease clinical programs at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, said that she first saw the Colorado man in February after another doctor could not figure out what was causing his distress. A furniture salesman, the man was becoming increasingly short of breath. He had never smoked and was overweight. His illness had been diagnosed as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs usually caused by chronic exposure to bacteria, mold or dust. Farmers and bird enthusiasts are frequent sufferers.

But nothing in the Colorado man’s history suggested that he was breathing in excessive amounts of mold or bird droppings, Dr. Rose said. She has consulted to flavorings manufacturers for years about “popcorn workers’ lung,” and said that something about the man’s tests appeared similar to those of the workers.

“I said to him, ‘This is a very weird question, but bear with me. But are you around a lot of popcorn?’ ” Dr. Rose asked. “His jaw dropped and he said, ‘How could you possibly know that about me? I am Mr. Popcorn. I love popcorn.’ ”

The man told Dr. Rose that he had eaten microwave popcorn at least twice a day for more than 10 years.

“When he broke open the bags, after the steam came out, he would often inhale the fragrance because he liked it so much,” Dr. Rose said. “That’s heated diacetyl, which we know from the workers’ studies is the highest risk.”

“This is not a definitive causal link, but it raises a lot of questions and supports the recommendation that more work needs to be done,” Dr. Rose said.


I guess the man overdid it a bit by eating popcorn at least twice a day for 10 years. Moi? I still love my bag of popcorn especially when watching a good movie. Heck, we only live once right???!

Note:
You can read the rest of the story here.

18 comments:

vernaloo said...

I think I heard of this news months ago pa. Third world countries daw should expect a high supply of microwable popcorns because FDA pulled out everything from the shelves because of the news and you know where they dump everything. Parang yung sa Cadburry chocolates at Pringles..nung nagkaroon din ng issue...sobrang baba kaagad ng prices dito sa atin...

Anyway true or not..I don't really care. I mean I don't dig popcorn that much but if you serve it in front of me, I will still gobble it hehe bahala na si batman.

kyels said...

That's scary but I hardly take popcorns; only when I go to the movies or if I'm in the mood of doing so.

[:

snglguy said...

Eating popcorn is okay, so long as you use your mouth, and not your nose... hahaha.

But hey it's true di ba? The old man loved to inhale the aroma of freshly popped corns from the microwave.

Ah basta ako, potato chips, nachos at mani pa rin ang favorite... :-D

Mom said...

lahat na lng yata..sobra naman 2x a day in 10yrs? I wonder what's next hehehe

ladybug said...

verns> There was a phase in my life when I got hooked on microwave popcorn and ate it 3x a day. I loved inhaling the fumes. Fortunately, it lasted barely a month. Buti na lang kundi storya ko na pala yung binabasa natin ngayon....hehehehe.

ladybug said...

kyels> That's ok then, you're safe. I think the person in the news report was on the extreme side. Twice a day for 10 years....tsk tsk.

ladybug said...

snglguy> Hahaha...pareho pala tayong mahilig sa chicherya! Lahat yan peborit ko eh. Pero hilig lang kasi namin sa bahay yung popcorn esp. the white and light kind kasi yun ang recommended para sa mga diabetic na tulad ni husband.

ladybug said...

mom> Ahh,hehehehe, gugulatin na lang tayo ng mga kwentong tulad nito. By the way, off-topic, 3rd recall na ng mattel noh? Hope your kids' toys are not among those included.

MOM said...

RE: Toy recalls--ay ano ba yan? every month na lng may recalls ang Mattel. I checked the new list at salamat naman my kids don't have those toys. Thanks :)

niceheart said...

Well, I think twice a day for ten days is too much. Not only for what he was inhaling, but the butter, omg.

We also buy that microwaveable popcorn but we don't eat it that often. Nakakatakot tuloy ngayon. I might stop buying it and I am thinking of throwing away what we still have here at home.

vic said...

Nothing beats the law of Moderation. Few years ago, my own doc (same for the last 25 years) referred me to St. Michael family clinic because my LDL (bad cholesterol) is not going away even with massive statin therapy that also caused my memory loss that put me on disability for two years (driver license suspended)and the first thing my dieticians told me, I can resume and eat the same food, only chicken skin taken before cooking, not after, and Everything in Moderation. After a year or so, I was ready to go back to work, got my driver license back and given a clean bill of health...Moderation is the key word for Everything if I may add...

Toe said...

Over naman 'yan... 2x a day for 10 years. I'm sure you'd get sick if you eat too much of anything. I ate 1 bag of microwave popcorn once (because my husband wasn't around to cook me dinner) and I got sick after. I can't eat popcorn after that.

ladybug said...

mom> No prob! I'm glad they're not included in your kids' toys. :-D

ladybug said...

niceheart> Hey, I don't think you have to throw them away. Just avoid inhaling the fumes after popping them. Di ba yun naman ang nakalagay sa directions? Hehehe....sayang, sarap pa naman popcorn...hehehe. Just don't do what the man in the news clipping did. Antindi kasi niya eh...hehehe.

ladybug said...

vic> I'm glad you're ok now. I agree with you there, moderation is really the key. Thanks for this tip!

ladybug said...

toe> Ako rin, there are moments. Pag naumay ako, parang ayaw ko na ulit kumain ng popcorn ng one million years. Kaso pag naka-amoy ulit ako, parang gusto ko na naman. Hehehehe. :-D

ipanema said...

i love microwavable popcorn! na over naman ang tao. he INHALED the steam! ay talagang magkakasakit sya.

ladybug said...

ipanema> Yup! Eh di ba may warning naman sa microwave popcorn not to inhale the steam, esp. immediately after removing it from the microwave. Hayun nangyari sa kanya.