Microwave Popcorn Harmful to Your Health?

posted by sdoerr on March 12, 2004 at 2:09 pm

Microwave popcorn may be harmful to your health according to a report that appeared on the Fox News website on Thursday.

Apparently, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has linked a rare lung disease, which was contracted by popcorn factory workers in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, to vapors from butter flavoring that were released during the production of the popcorn.

While the FDA considers butter flavoring safe for human consumption, particularly in the small quanitities present in each bag, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun a study to examine the threat, if any, posed when microwave popcorn is used by consumers.

Comments (17)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on March 12, 2004 at 11:21 pm

I’m not so sure about that, Warren. Several microwave popcorn factory workers have gotten seriously ill. In some cases, their lung capacity has been almost totally destroyed.

Although the Fox article is a bit alarmist, it’s important to point out the workers inhaled vapors that were thousands, if not millions, of times stronger than what an ordinary consumer is likely to inhale when opening a bag of fresh popcorn.

UAGirl on March 13, 2004 at 12:18 am

There has to be some damaging effect of inhaling grease coated steam.
Just let the big cool down a little bit, open it away from your face and pour it into a bowl. Taaa daa! Besides who wants steam grease on their glasses or face? :P

ec123 on March 15, 2004 at 2:11 pm

This brings up a very valid point. There are many studies that link the use of hydrogenated oils to serious health problems. These oils are in most microwave popcorn, but not in many theatre popcorn recipes (usually plain corn oil or cocoanut oil (which is delicious but very high in saturated fat) There is also such concern about the artificial coloring in the popcorn seasonings, that there are now dye-free versions of them available, but colored with a natural ingredient. These concerns didn’t come up until the last few years when medical studies were probing causes of heart disease, obesity and cancer. The more we know, the better choices we can make.

Pandaman on April 3, 2004 at 9:50 pm

who cares?? i mean come on it tastes good and that is all I would care about (i personally dont eat the stuff) but for those who do go on eating if you are emant to die from popcorn in a bag then that is the way you are going.

sdoerr on July 13, 2004 at 1:44 am

lol @ pandaman

someguy1 on March 1, 2005 at 2:25 pm

I found this site in an investigation on possible damaging effects of microwave popcorn vapors on people. If someone cooks it, I cannot go into the same room for a good hour without getting really sick. My chest tightens up, I get bad nausea and feel like I am going to puke but dont. My co-workers give me crap because I complain I don’t like the smell. Not only is it disgusting but it makes me feel very ill as well, even long after I can’t smell it. ACT II seems to be the one that is the worst of all. I noticed some comments regarding hydrogenated oils suspended with water vapor. I know hydrogenated oils are hazardous but could there be more underlying causes to any chemicals that could be wreaking such havoc? Why would I get extremely sick while others remain unfazed?

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