We love popcorn. When done right, it’s reasonably healthy, always delicious, and reliably filling without being fattening. But do it wrong and you may be filling your house with more than the appetizing aroma of one of America’s favorite snacks. You might be loading your home’s air with hazardous chemical fumes. That’s the opinion of a variety of health experts who would like the FDA to look into the synthetic butter flavoring used in many microwave brands. […]The chemical in question is called diacetyl. It’s naturally present in butter, and food manufacturers use a synthetic version of this compound whenever they want to endow a product with a buttery taste. Other products that contain this chemical include margarine, butter substitutes, cooking oil, lard, and countless frozen food products.
Diacetyl was widely accepted as safe and effective until dozens of workers at a microwave popcorn manufacturing plant in Jasper, Missouri, inexplicably developed a rare disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which, as its Latin name suggests, is a condition that completely destroys the lungs.
If this is as bad as it sounds I don’t know how I made it through a couple years of life in college dorms.