Despite Harsh Opposition, Popcorn Bill Passes House
According to the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON | Rather than wait on studies of possible dangers posed by a chemical used in microwave popcorn, the House wants to regulate food workers’ exposure to it.
Consumers probably wouldn’t notice the regulatory change. Many popcorn makers have already found a flavoring substitute for the chemical in question, diacetyl.
But Democrats said Wednesday that a federal standard should be enforced immediately to ensure that workers in the popcorn industry and others aren’t placed in danger.
Diacetyl occurs naturally in foods such as butter, cheese and fruits, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved its use as a flavor ingredient. The concern is when workers inhale it in manufacturing settings.
In lawsuits, workers exposed to diacetyl have linked the chemical to cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare life-threatening disease often called popcorn lung. Workers who get the progressive lung disease sometimes require lung transplants to survive.
The disease has been the subject of lawsuits by hundreds of workers at food factories exposed to chemicals used for flavoring. Many were filed in Jasper County Circuit Court in Carthage, Mo., by people who work or worked at the Gilster-Mary Lee popcorn plant in Jasper...click to continue.