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Popcorn Lung


Popcorn lung disease is a rare and irreversible illness that affects workers who breathe the vapor of butter flavoring, or Diacetyl. Although the formal name of the condition is bronchiolitis obliterans, the condition was named popcorn lung disease or popcorn workers lung because it is most commonly found in employees of microwave popcorn plants.


Popcorn lung disease symptoms include:

  • Scarring and hardening of lung tissue
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Skin peeling

Popcorn Lung

When breathing tests are administered to people with possible popcorn lung disease symptoms, they reveal hyperinflation of the lungs because air becomes trapped beyond the obstruction; thickened airway walls; narrow or blocked small airways; reduced ability to expand the lungs fully; and haziness on x-rays.

Popcorn lung disease symptoms include:

Over the last 15 years, a number of popcorn lung sufferers have needed lung transplants to survive and a small handful of people have died. In 2007, four of America's biggest microwave popcorn manufacturers removed diacetyl from nearly all of their products and several smaller companies followed suit.

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