News Stories

Lethal Popcorn

With the news about genetically-modified crops and Mad Cow Disease, it seems as if no food is safe to eat. Now the EPA has discovered that the fumes released into the air when a bag of butter-flavored microwave popcorn is opened can be deadly.

Exposure to vapors from this butter flavoring, which contain the chemical diacetyl, has been blamed for a rare lung disease contracted by popcorn factory workers in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. It's not known if the amounts of this chemical released during popping at home are large enough to be dangerous.

About 50 brands and flavors of microwave popcorn are being tested, from super-buttery to sweet. The EPA's Jacky Rosati says, "Obviously, we are looking at diacetyl because it is a known compound that will come off this popcorn. But we're not looking at that alone."

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