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Microwave popcorn danger

     In a prior entry, we criticized the Bush Administration's tardiness in acting to protect employees exposed to diacetyl in the manufacture of "butter-flavored" popcorn.  We noted that a large number of employees exposed to this chemical had suffered permanent injury which pulmonologists had identified colloquially as "popcorn workers' lung".    Despite the growing evidence and its scientific acceptance within the medical field, the Bush Occupational Safety and Health Administration had refused to act.  Now, for the first time, physicians have also traced a consumer's lung injury to inhalation of diacetyl from microwave popcorn.  The victim was a 53-year old "popcorn addict" who routinely ate two bags per day.   His blood levels of diacetyl were similar to those experienced in plants where popcorn is manufactured.  When the man's specialist asked him to eliminate popcorn from his diet, his lung function improved.  OSHA has still not acted to protect workers who suffer this exposure on a routine basis.

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