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Can Microwaved Snacks Ruin Your Lungs? Consumers, not factory workers just, may be in peril from fumes from buttery flavoring in microwave popcorn, according to a warning letter to federal regulators from a health care provider at a leading lung research hospital. A pulmonary specialist at Denver’s National Jewish Medical and Research Middle has created to federal agencies to state doctors there believe they have the 1st case of a customer who developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn many times a day for a long time. ‘We cannot be sure that this patient’s exposure to butter-flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy planning has triggered his lung disease,’ cautioned Dr. Cecile Rose. ‘However, we have no other plausible explanation.’ The July letter, tuesday by a public health policy blog made public, refers to a potentially fatal disease typically called snacks lung that is the subject of lawsuits by hundreds of workers at meals factories exposed to chemicals utilized for flavoring. In response to Rose’s acquiring, the Flavor and Extract Producers Association issued a statement Tuesday recommending that its people reduce ‘to the extent possible’ the quantity of diacetyl in butter flavorings they make. It mentioned that diacetyl is authorized for use in flavors by the federal Food and Drug Administration. One national popcorn producer, Weaver Popcorn Co. Of Indianapolis, said last week it could replace the butter flavoring component due to consumer concern. Congress has also been debating fresh safety precautions for workers in meals processing plants subjected to diacetyl. The FDA said in an e-mail it is evaluating Rose’s letter and ‘carefully considering the protection and regulatory problems it raises.’ Fred Blosser, spokesman for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said it’s the first case the institute has noticed of lung disease apparently associated with popcorn fumes beyond your workplace. The occupational safety arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Avoidance said it is working on a response to the letter. William Allstetter, spokesman for National Jewish Medical, confirmed the letter was sent by Rose, a specialist in occupational and environmental lung diseases and director of the hospital’s Occupational and Environmental Medication Clinic. ‘There have been no other cases that people know of apart from the industrial occupational ones,’ Allstetter said. Rose acknowledged in the letter that it is difficult to confirm through one case that popping buttered microwave popcorn at home can cause lung disease. Nevertheless, she said she wished to alert regulators of the potential open public health implications. Rose said the ailing patient, a man whom she wouldn’t identify, consumed ‘several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn’ every day for several years. He explained worsening respiratory symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath progressively. Tests found his ability to exhale was deteriorating, Rose said, although his condition appeared to stabilize after he quit using microwave popcorn. She said her staff measured airborne levels of diacetyl in the patient’s house when he prepared the snacks. The levels were ‘identical to those reported in the microwave oven exhaust region’ at the quality assurance device of the snacks plant where the affected employees worked, she said. David Michaels, of the George Washington University School of Public Wellness, who first released Rose’s letter on his blog page, The Pump Handle, said the finding is certainly another good reason for federal regulators to crack down on diacetyl exposure by workers and consumers. ‘This letter can be a red flag, suggesting that contact with food flavor chemicals isn’t just killing workers, but can also be causing disease in people exposed to food flavor chemical substances in their kitchens,’ Michaels wrote on his public health plan blog.