Bronchiolitis obliterans is the medical term used for the condition developed from the exposure to diacetyl. Diacetyl is a yellow to green liquid or powder that is found in a variety of foods and beverages. It has a slippery texture at low levels and a butterscotch flavor at higher levels. It is a natural by-product from the conversion of glucose to ethanol by yeast during fermentation in beer, and it is also found naturally in low concentrations in coffee, vinegar, dairy, honey, and fruits. It is primarily used as an artificial food additive in flours, chocolate, cooking oils, candy, chips, frosting and more. Most notably, it is responsible for the butter aroma and taste in microwave popcorn. This last characteristic of diacetyl is what has been causing popcorn manufacture workers to develop Bronchiolitis Obliterans. Dozens of popcorn manufacture workers have gotten this disease due to prolonged exposure to this chemical.
Although "popcorn lung disease" is said to be developed through the inhalation of the diacetyl, two microwave popcorn lovers have developed lung problems similar to bronchiolitis obliterans. They stated that they used to have in average 2 bags of extra butter flavor popcorn per day for the past few years. Although there is no medical evidence that the oral consumption of diacetyl is as harmful as its inhalation, after the guys stopped eating popcorn they found some relief.
People affected by the toxicity of diacetyl usually develop shortness of breath and hardening of the lung tissue which it can also be misdiagnosed as asthma and bronchitis. Once the disease has taken place, the damage cannot be reversed by eliminating the exposure to diacetyl. If left untreated or if the case is too severe, bronchiolitis obliterans is life threatening and individuals must undergo a lung transplant.
Some U.S. states a now trying to ban diacetyl from the work place in order to preserve the workers' health. So please, make your own popcorn and if you like the butter flavor, melt you own butter. I know that it would never look or taste like the microwave or the movies popcorn because what they use is not real butter. The "butter" spray they have at the movies for people to add to the popcorn is in fact an greasy liquid with diacetyl to give the yellow color and the buttery flavor.
LET'S EAT FOOD, REAL FOOD!