News Item:
Butter flavor suspected in illness

Life’s little pleasures are killing us, or so we’re constantly told.  What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, and each new study creates another flip-flop.  Chocolate was bad, it made people fat, but dark chocolate seems to be good for your blood pressure.  Fish were good, ‘brain food’ our parents called it.  Mercury levels in fish, not so good.  Alchohol is a killer, causes liver disease and such.  Some red wine though is good for your heart.  The caffeine in coffee was destroying our nervous systems, but now maybe that little boost isn’t all that bad.  Soup, mom’s chicken soup, was the cure for whatever ailed you, but only if mom made it from scratch.  Preservatives in canned soups seem to do things to us.  When’s the last time you made your own chicken stock?  Bread, been around forever, even used as a comparison to new inventions [the greatest thing since sliced bread], but out arteries don’t seem to think so.

The list goes on and on, and the newest to hit the charts,
diacetyl, is being likened to asbestos.


In common everyday terms [the kind we like around here], it’s a chemical used to make that nice buttery flavor in your microwave popcorn.  Eating the stuff may not be harmful, but that study is just getting started.  Making the stuff though, if the statisitics are correct, should earn you hazardous duty pay.  The problem seems to be in breathing in the fumes that permeate the area where the flavoring is made.  Something in the mix appears to attack the lungs, creating a fixed obstruction.  Eventually the lungs just cease to function, which results in suffocation.  Unlike lung cancer, which can creep along for 20 or 30 years, bronchiolitis obliterans [the official name for the disease], seems to hit workers very quickly.  So quickly, in fact, that there is growing concern about the effects of opening that bag of freshly nuked popcorn at home, and breathing in whatever is released with the steam.

Full Story: Washington Post

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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