New Microwave Popcorn Additive Equally Toxic as Diacetyl

Popcorn lung disease lawyers are busy defending cases of many microwave popcorn workers across the US. The lawsuits involve the manufacturers’ use of a poisonous flavoring additive called diacetyl. Manufacturers quickly ceased use of diacetyl in favor of an alternative ingredient, 2,3-pentanedione, or PD. Recent reports, however, reveal that PD is just as toxic as diacetyl.

Popcorn may seem quite harmless to the end consumer, but it is clearly a product of the industrial age, and uses many artificial substances for flavoring and preservation. Diacetyl and other artificial substances used in the manufacture of microwave popcorn are proved to be contributory factors for conditions such as bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn workers’ lung disease, an irreversible and potentially fatal respiratory condition requiring lung transplants.

Popcorn workers’ lung disease causes the small airways in the lungs, called bronchioles, to be compressed through inflammation and/or fibrosis.

Unfortunately, popcorn manufacturers did know about the adverse and fatal health effects of diacetyl and failed to warn workers. Manufacturers also failed to take steps to eliminate or reduce the chances of exposure to the vapors of the substance until the FDA and CDC stepped in. The malicious and unlawful concealment of the truth was in aim of increasing profit, even at the expense of worker’s health and lives.

Since diacetyl was directly linked to the severe respiratory disease, many manufacturers stopped using the chemical in favor of PD, which they believed to be safe. Recent studies by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), however, found that PD is just as toxic as its predecessor, causing the same damages to airways.

Thus, PD can function as the underlying factor for causing bronchiolitis obliterans. Flavoring substances are legally substituted only if the replacement is less toxic. However, with PD that does not seem to be true.

The NIOSH research involved exposing lab rats to different PD and diacetyl concentrations along with filtered air for 6 hours. Detailed examinations were administered to the nasal, brain and lung tissues at various intervals during exposure. Within 12 to 14 hours of exposure, PD brought about respiratory epithelial injury in the upper nose, which were similar if not identical to the damages caused by diacetyl.

PD exposure also caused two kinds of cell death in the olfactory neuroepithelium – apoptosis and necrosis. This was combined with the activation of caspase 3, a protein contributing to cell death. The test is a shocking reminder of the toxicity of a substance that was widely considered to be harmless.

The severe popcorn workers’ lung disease usually strikes when workers are occupied on the packaging lines for microwave-popcorn. Diacetyl or PD inhalation can cause a healthy non-smoker with no inhalation or lung issues to suffer extreme shortness of breath, hardening of the lung tissue, and other alarming respiratory issues. Over time, the symptoms get more serious indicating the onslaught of the disease. A lung transplant is often urgently required to save the life of the patient.

Experienced personal injury lawyers and popcorn workers’ lung attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are working tirelessly to warn innocent workers of the hazards of toxic substance exposure. If you suspect diacetyl or PD exposure and developed respiratory problems, contact our firm immediately for a free legal consultation.

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