Lung disease linked to flavoring chemical

May 7, 2007

Politicians and health workers in the United States are pushing for a bill to ban the use of a food flavoring chemical that has been linked to lung disease.

The Washington Post reported on a growing group of California food-flavoring workers who have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and life-threatening form of fixed obstructive lung disease. The disease, also known as popcorn workers lung, slowly eliminates lung capacity.

A transplant is reportedly the only cure.

The Post reported that since 2001, academic studies have linked the disease with an artificial butter flavoring called diacetyl, often used in microwave popcorn flavoring plants. Flavoring manufacturers have paid out more than $100 million in lawsuits from workers who have gotten sick with lung ailments during the past five years.

One death from popcorn workers lung has been confirmed. Politicians and health care workers are pushing for a ban on diacetyl.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has been criticized for being slow in acting on the issue. Because of this, California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber has introduced a bill to ban the use of diacetyl.

The Post reported that most people infected with popcorn workers lung are young Latinos with no history of smoking.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Alarm over Delhi pollution doesn't stop Diwali fireworks

Related Stories

Alarm over Delhi pollution doesn't stop Diwali fireworks

November 12, 2015

The fireworks have fizzled. The festival lights are coming down. What's left of the Hindu holiday of Diwali in the Indian capital—already considered the world's most polluted—is a toxic haze that has residents gagging ...

Where do rats move in after disasters? This team finds out

November 6, 2015

Imagine you're a researcher working outdoors in a New Orleans summer. It's 100 degrees, and you're going door-to-door in neighborhoods where people have grown tired of being studied by outsiders in the decade since Hurricane ...

Reproduction of dolphins hurt by BP oil spill

November 4, 2015

Dolphins living in a Louisiana bay polluted by BP's massive 2010 offshore oil spill have had a very difficult time giving birth long after their bay was covered in slicks, a new study shows.

Treating pulmonary diseases using Alaska pollock gelatin

October 23, 2015

In recent years, patients with pulmonary emphysema have been increasing mainly among middle-aged and elderly males due to aging and excessive smoking. Emphysema makes brittle lungs, and in severe cases, holes develop in the ...

When eating fish is a health hazard

September 14, 2015

Fish farmed or caught near the world's great industrial growth areas run the risk of spreading toxic contamination up the food chain and poisoning consumers.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.