I think I'll switch to Junior Mints from now on

Mary
filed under: , health, food-and-drink
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One of my favorite blogs at the moment is Effect Measure, which is theoretically all about pressing public health issues but also includes such nuggets as "Paul Revere was a member of the first local Board of Health in the United States" (and that's just in the "about us" profile). Right now on EM, you can read about Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice," the Indian blogspot ban, Iraqi cats that have come down with bird flu, and "popcorn workers' lung," which is apparently the modern-day equivalent of black lung:

The bronchioles are the smaller airway tubes that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the portions of your lungs where the gases are exchanged in the blood. If you obliterate those small tubes, well, you figure it out. ... The chemical culprit here is not completely certain. It seems to be either a substance called diacetyl, the chief constituent of artificial butter flavor, or something closely connected to diacetyl, either a by-product or something that is present along with it. The first cases appeared in a Missouri microwave popcorn plant in 1999. ...

There is suspicion the problem is wider than just "popcorn workers' lung," as the condition is coming to be called. Many other food industry workers may also be at risk because diacetyl is used to make artificial flavors in candy, pastries, frozen foods and pet foods.

Candy too? There goes my Plan B. More seriously, popcorn lung does appear to be real; one of the victims died in May, and Congress recently started an investigation.

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July 26, 2006 - 10:32am
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