Microwave popcorn bags are made of paper, but the inside of the bag has to be coated with something that will repel grease and moisture. When the mix of chemicals used to coat microwave bags is heated, some compounds are known to break down into a substance called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Here’s the bad news:
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PFOA has been identified as a likely carcinogen.
Here's the worse news:
Not only is the bag coated with a carcinogen, but so is the fake butter flavoring!
"The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health determined that a disease that destroys lung tissue was triggered by exposure to the artificial butter flavoring. What's in the fake butter? Diacetyl. It gives artificial butter it's flavor and smell. This is an FDA-approved chemical that is also found in many wines, cookies, candies, beers, and cheese-flavored products."
Here's the worser news:
They've known about this for years! Over a decade!
"In 2001, a report noted that 130 plant employees had twice the national average rates of bronchitis and asthma and more than three times the rate of obstructed breathing. In November 2005,the popcorn plant settled their lawsuits out of court. Four other cases involving seven workers went to trial and resulted in verdicts that added up to more than $50 million dollars in compensation for the workers."
Here's the worstest news of all:
It's still on the market. Who's running this outfit anyway? What's so difficult? Even the simplest form of life is known to move away from things that will hurt it...oh, yeah, I see the difference now - there's simple life and low life.
Guess who's running Congress.
"Congress has been working on a bill to order quick action (don't make me laugh) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to limit exposure to diacetyl. The House of Representatives passed a bill last year but the Senate has not acted."
Mind You: Back in 2006, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers petitioned the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pass an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the deleterious health effects of inhaling diacetyl vapors. The petition was followed by a letter of support signed by more than thirty prominent scientists. The matter is still under consideration.
So, between Diacetyl, PFOA and trans fatty acids (oh, you KNOW they're in there), you may be persuaded to dust off that old popcorn popper you got in high school.
Perfluorochemicals: Potential sources of and migration from food packaging T. H. Begley, et al. Volume 22, Issue 10, 2005