Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Burnt microwave popcorn can result in the evacuation of a building. Microwave popcorn can result in a rare, life-threatening disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, also known popcorn lung. Microwave has transfat which can result in heart trouble etc etc etc.
To me microwave popcorn must be avoided at all costs. We must and can ban microwave popcorn. Therefore I propose that microwave popcorn be given to the homeless in the interim. They won't pop it and will throw it away. Lets boycott microwave ovens. Don't use them for any reason. Or ban microwave ovens, no ovens no microwave popcorn. Ban corn or boycott corn. We can stop this global threat. I expect your support and ideas.
Popcorn Lung Patient Inhaled Fumes
Microwave popcorn fans worried about the potential for lung disease from butter flavoring fumes should know this: The sole reported case of the disease in a non-factory worker involves a man who popped the corn every day and inhaled from the bag.
"He really liked microwave popcorn. He made two or three bags every day for 10 years," said William Allstetter, a spokesman for National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver where the man's respiratory illness was diagnosed.
"He told us he liked the smell of popcorn, so he would open and inhale from freshly popped bags," Allstetter said. And the patient said he did this for a decade.
There are no warnings from federal regulators, nor is there medical advice on how consumers should treat news of the rare, life-threatening disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung.
The popcorn flavoring contains the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to lung damage in workers inhaling its fumes in food manufacturing plants. The chemical is a naturally occurring compound that gives butter its flavor and is also found in cheese and even wine, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
It's been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a flavor ingredient, but hundreds of workers have sued flavoring makers in recent years for lung damage.
Dr. David Weissman, head of NIOSH's division of respiratory diseases, said the key difference between homes and the factories where popcorn lung has been found is in the level of exposure to diacetyl. For example, he said, sickened quality control workers at a Jasper, Mo., popcorn factory popped hundreds of bags a day in their testing, not just one or two.
The first case of lung damage from a home popcorn maker came to light Tuesday in a recent letter to federal regulators from Dr. Cecile Rose, a lung specialist at National Jewish.
On Wednesday, the nation's largest microwave popcorn maker, ConAgra (nyse: CAG - news - people ), said it would stop using diacetyl within a year out of concern for its workers - not because of risks to consumers. ConAgra makes Act II and Orville Redenbacher brands.
Meanwhile, Rose is not making changes in her own home.
"She said she's still letting her kids pop the occasional bag," Allstetter said. "They're not big popcorn consumers, but she's not making any changes because of this case."
The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association said that Rose's finding does not suggest a risk from eating microwave popcorn.
City of Seattle may ban microwave popcorn
SEATTLE – At Seattle City Hall there are rules.
No weapons, no animals, no loitering, no alcohol, no lying down, no smoking, no music, no fighting, no trespassing.
Could the next thing be no microwave popcorn?
"It can be a significant problem in the future," says Seattle Facilities Director Pedro Vasquez.
The City Facilities Department has just issued a memo to all City employees.
SUBJECT: Burnt microwave popcorn.
The Justice Center has been evacuated eight times in three years, forcing the evacuation of more than 400 people. If the problem continues, it will result in a ban of all microwave popcorn.
How has it happened so many times?
"I really don't know, I can't answer that question for you," says Yolande Williams, City Court Administrator.
The biggest offenders are at the Justice Center, but overheated popcorn has also forced evacuations at the Municipal Tower.
Popcorn is not the easiest thing to cook. Who knows if it's really two, two-and-a-half or three minutes? An unsupervised bag can destroy productivity for all your co-workers.
But just the mention of a possible ban at city offices gets a number of responses.
"Perhaps what would happen is there'd be an underground market for microwave popcorn, people would sneak the microwaves into their offices, they'd do illicit popping," says Frank Video, a staff member for the Seattle City Council.
Is it possible that if popcorn is outlawed, only the outlaws will have popcorn?
"You know, it's not something that we have talked about in that much detail yet," says Vasquez.
A spokesman for Mayor Greg Nickels says the Mayor does not eat popcorn.
The City just wants employees to follow this simple rule: Listen to the pop to know when to stop.
The Facilities director admits even his wife has burned a bag or two.
"She hit the popcorn button that had an automatic time associated with it and the popcorn still burned," says Vasquez, who says even though it happened at his home, he did not ban popcorn.
Popcorn experts tell us the rule is very simple: When the popping slows to one or two seconds between pops, stop the microwave.