Tuesday, August 01, 2006


DON’T BREATHE IT, JUST EAT IT.


If you love microwave popcorn at home, or buttered popcorn at the movies, you may not be aware that you’re a big diacetyl fan, and likely have been for years. In popcorn workers, who breathe the popcorn-flavoring stuff in vaporized form, diacetyl causes a serious lung disease descriptively called bronchiolitis obliterans, colloquially known as "popcorn workers' lung."

This is only one minipixel of the vast picture of collective public ignorance regarding what goes on around us in our foods and our environment, to say nothing of government. Diacetyl in our favorite entertainment snack is just one of the many thousands of things we're all ignorant of, because corporoments and governations don't reveal anything they're not half-heartedly required to by laws they have a great part in shaping, and then it comes out in tiny print somewhere on the back, or well after the fact in the form of class action law suits brought by those still living who had no idea all these years.

The fact is, we're each on our own at the bottom line, and can't count on corporogovercratic integrity to look out for our well being in the more important marketplace. Even if they try they'll likely bury it under paper or stretch it into oblivion:

"Both unions have requested an 'emergency temporary standard' to limit worker exposure to diacetyl, but Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said that such a request could take up to two years to evaluate...

There was no word from the scientists, OSHA, or the unions as to what exposure to diacetyl may do to consumers of products that contain the harmful chemical, but consumer health advocate Mike Adams had this to say: 'If this chemical is causing serious harm to the workers who handle it, what's it doing to the millions of consumers who eat it?'"

This is of course a bigger problem than popcorn. Shouldn't our lives be in our charge? Who took that away from us? Why did we let them do it? Why are we still letting them do it? Is it our choice, after all, to be led by the nose into darkness? Do we really have a general preference to be guinea pigs?

8 comments:

Winston said...

First I have heard this one. I can hear old Orville beating on the inside of the pantry door to be set free. Too bad since popcorn is such a good snack, sans excessive butter and salt, of course.

Over the last 40 years, everything we have, use, breathe, touch, or consume, has at one time or another been tagged as dangerous to our health or environment. In modern society there is no safe refuge...

Ergo, carpe diem...

Maya's Granny said...

Popcorn? That last refuge, popcorn? Is nothing sacred?

Well, at least we already knew that we aren't sacred to either business or government.

J said...

I don't mind carpe diem so damned much if I at least understand what is going on. And caveat emptor makes perfect sense if, again, I get the chance to understand what is going on. But popcorn flavoring is dangerous to workers? Next you'll be telling me that roses grown for Valentines day cause health problems...wait...I did hear that one already.

I'm sick of the fact that we take perfectly healthy foods, things that used to be considered somewhat healthy, and treat them with all kinds of crap and ruin it for everyone. Damn it, I LIKE movie popcorn, and up until now, I thought the only danger was to my waistline...not to someone's health.

Damn it all.

Anonymous said...

Or you can go Robert's route and move to Waldon Pond.

Robert Brady said...

There isn't much Walden left in the world anymore... we've all got to eat, drink and breathe the results of our collective actions, but there's always the Walden Pond of the Mind...

annie said...

Sigh...and the same chemical is used in beer. I find hope in the organic microwave popcorn at farmersteve.com. (Then there is the microwave itself.)

Mick Brady said...

It's all in how you choose to look at things. Average life expectancy in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century was 49 years, but by the end of the century it was 77 years, an increase of 57% - primarily due to the eradication and control of infectious diseases, and to advances in agricultural technology.

Count your blessings. Life is short, but getting longer. Relax, enjoy.

Robert Brady said...

Yeah, I've gotten through most of it ok so far (knock on genuine wood), and still selectively indulge with gusto; I'm thinking of the little ones, mainly, and how it will be for them if this all intensifies as cryptically as it has already...