Does This Snack Really Cause Lung Cancer?

Have you heard the news that links “microwave popcorn” to lung problems? A study claiming that the “artificial butter” flavoring in microwave popcorn, contains the same chemical as that of flavored e-cigarettes.
But is this really the case. Let’s find out!


The study, which was published in the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, found out the at least 75% of flavored electronic cigarettes contain diacetyl. Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical linked to some severe respiratory disease. This same chemical can also be found in some artificial butter popcorn flavorings.
Diacetyl is also linked to “bronchiolitis obliterans” or what is known as “popcorn lung”, a lung disease characterized by inflammation and scarring that occurs in the lungs’ airways as per Prevention. Individuals with bronchiolitis obliterans, experienced dry cough and severe shortness of breath.
“Popcorn lung” was named after former Microwave Popcorn plant workers in Missouri developed the disease. As per CDCP or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most individuals with the disease have little, to no benefit from receiving medical treatment, but the cough gets better years after they are no longer exposed to the diacetyl vapors.
It does makes sense that individuals who were constantly exposed to the vapors, like those popcorn plant workers are more likely to develop the disease. But at least one individual was reported to have developed the diseases from eating too much microwavable popcorn, as reported in the New York Times in 2007.

So Does Eating Microwave Popcorn Really Cause Lung Cancer?

A Bronchiolitis obliterans expert from National Jewish Health, said that you should not worry if you have a microwave popcorn habit. Here is her explanation below:
“Consuming butter-flavored microwave popcorn is not known to cause any lung disease”. But, inhaling the fumes which contains diacetyl and other butter flavorings can cause lung disease.
Also she pointed out that the man who was diagnosed with popcorn lung from microwavable popcorn, regularly inhaled the smell when he opened the freshly popped bag, which in turn was the probable caused of the disease. But, the rest of us do not regularly inhale popcorn fumes or do it as muchoften as that man did.
In preparing and eating microwave popcorn, medical experts advised this, “Avoid inhaling the vapors when the heated bags of popcorn are first opened, to be safe.” Also avoid e-cigarettes as well.
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