Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Deadly Duo


Those who have been here for some time now are probably familiar with a recent argument I got into with Orac over at Respectful Insolence on the dangers of Second Hand Smoke. I mentioned that recent science indicates that spending eight hours in a smoky bar is no worse for your heart, than drinking a can of pop every day.

Well it looks like pop isn’t the only thing that’s worse than working in a smoky bar. Turns out that a couple bags of microwave popcorn is even worse! Wayne Watson, a Colorado man, who consumed two bags of microwave popcorn every day for the past ten years has been diagnosed with Bronchiolitis Obliterans or Popcorn Lung, an often fatal lung disease. Apparently the chemical diacetyl, which occurs naturally in butter, and gives it that delicious flavor we all love, can be deadly when vaporized and inhaled. So if you can smell butter, you are being exposed to toxins.

But where is the legislation? Where are the lobbyists? Where is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation? How come this threat to humanity is still allowed to be sold in grocery stores all over America, even to little children!

I know that the risk can be avoided simply by customers selecting the butter free variety (or not eating popcorn). But what about the children that work in movie theaters? What about the workers that are exposed? According to research the risk to popcorn workers of contracting Popcorn Lung, is roughly the same as coal miners contracting Black Lung (3%) which means working around buttery popcorn, is thousands of times more dangerous that working in a smoky bar.

During our heated and extended debate, the Great Orac once said “There's nothing inherent in the work required in bars or restaurants that demands exposure to SHS, other than tradition.”

By the same token, there is no reason to put butter on popcorn, outside of tradition. When will we start caring for the victims of popcorn? Certainly those who wish to eat buttered popcorn, can step outside the theater to indulge in their deadly habit. I SHOULD be able to enjoy a movie without exposing myself to second hand butter.


  • Give it a few years. You think the nanny-staters will stop with smoking? There's still alcohol, trans-fat, and red meat to be dealt with. It will only stop when the elitists have absolute control.

    By Anonymous tkshoop, at 10:59 PM, October 12, 2007  

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