Tag Archives: Cover-Up

The Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Scandal – Part II

Follow Bill Clinton’s example – don’t inhale. Microwave popcorn releases toxic diacetyl vapors. This is the buttery aroma you smell when you open the bag. Don’t inhale, because the Bush Administration is continuing to cover up the scandal and is not acting to protect your health.

The New York Times today reports that a “Doctor Links a Man’s Illness to Microwave Popcorn.”

“Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal.”

We wrote last week about “The Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Scandal.” This is new evidence damning the inaction of the Bush Administration in addressing a serious documented workplace hazard as well as a consumer health hazard.

Bush officials in the Environmental Protection Agency have measured the release of diacetyl from microwave popcorn but have not released the study to the public. The study was completed last year. The results were meanwhile given to the popcorn industry.

With this latest evidence and inaction we are obviously now in the throes of the “Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Cover-up“. The Bush team is obviously more intent on protecting corporate profits than alerting the public to the serious health risk of consumers being exposed to toxic diacetyl vapors.

This is the problem you get when you saturate the Federal bureaucracy, that is supposed to represent the public interest, with corporate and partisan politicians beholden to corporate interests as Bush has done. The Republican “Corporations First” policies of Bush is a disastrous one for our nation. Individual and worker concerns about health and safety are made subordinate to corporate profits.

As the Seattle PI wrote about last week and today, the Bush Administration is not acting on regulating and cleaning up the toxic workplace conditions that exist in industries like the popcorn industry. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health first investigated workers injured and dying in Midwest popcorn plants starting in 2001.

Despite serious life threatening workplace exposure to diacetyl, the Bush Administration, carrying out the conservative Republican Agenda to not regulate corporations, has not taken prudent action to protect worker safety and health. And now it appears that they are also ignoring the consumer health risk.

Consider these two statements quoted in today’s Seattle PI article.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., chairwoman of a work force protection subcommittee:

“The reported case of a consumer diagnosed with popcorn lung underscores the need for our public health agencies to take this hazard more seriously, not only for workers, but for consumers as well. While OSHA is dragging its feet over the numerous reports of workers who have died or suffered serious lung disease from exposure to diacetyl, this new case raises concerns that consumers may be at risk as well.”

As well as this comment:

Dr. David Egilman, an occupation medicine specialist, has examined and testified for many of the workers injured by diacetyl.
“People need to realize that these illness and deaths were completely preventable,” Egilman said. “They occurred because the companies who make these products hid the information on toxicity and control the regulatory process. … An emasculated government public health community that is subservient to corporate profits cannot protect us — even from popcorn”

I urge people to contact their Congressional representatives and urge action be taken to remove diacetyl form microwave popcorn, to put workplace protection in place for workers exposed to diacetyl and to ask that other foods with diacetyl in them that are heated or microwaved be investigated for possible health dangers.

The Seattle PI mentions that diacetyl is also in “potato chips, baked goods and candies, frozen food, artificial butter, cooking oils, beer, dog food and other items”

Tell Congress to take action to protect workers and consumers from the dangers of diacetyl in heated or microwaved foods. Click here to send a message to Congress.