Tags: artificial | popcorn | butter | risk

Artificial Popcorn Butter Found Unsafe

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:08 AM

Another ingredient found in artificial butter flavoring used in microwave popcorn has been found to pose a potential health risk.
Federal health officials said research on laboratory rats shows the ingredient known as PD (short for 2,3-pentanedione) is a respiratory hazard that can also alter genes in brain cells. The chemical has been used as an alternative to impart the flavor and aroma of butter in microwave popcorn after studies showed another butter flavoring, DA (diacetyl), was found to cause bronchiolitis obliterans – a life-threatening and nonreversible lung disease in workers who inhaled the substance.
But the new study – conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – indicates that the effects of PD exposure are comparable to DA in raising the risks of "popcorn workers' lung."
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"Our study demonstrates that PD, like diacetyl, damages airway epithelium in laboratory studies. This finding is important because the damage is believed to be the underlying cause of bronchiolitis obliterans," said Ann F. Hubbs, who led the study, published in The American Journal of Pathology. "Our study also supports established recommendations that flavorings should be substituted only when there is evidence that the substitute is less toxic than the agent it replaces."
Hubbs’ study exposed rats to different concentrations of PD, a comparable concentration of diacetyl, or filtered air. They then microscopically examined the brains, lungs, and nasal tissues from these rats after they were exposure and evaluated changes in gene activity in their brains.
The investigators found PD caused significant problems and changes in the animals’ respiratory systems, brains and nasal tissues.
"Our study is a reminder that a chemical with a long history of being eaten without any evidence of toxicity can still be an agent with respiratory toxicity when appropriate studies are conducted," said Hubbs. "It … clearly demonstrates that the remarkable airway toxicity of diacetyl is shared with its close structural relative, PD."
The new findings come less than two weeks after a study published in the American Chemical Society journal Chemical Research in Toxicology found DA – used in some margarines, microwave popcorn, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products – intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer's disease.
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Past studies have linked DA to respiratory and other problems in workers at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories. For the ACS study, Robert Vince and colleagues noted DA is structurally similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain – a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
The found DA did increase the level of beta-amyloid clumping and enhanced beta-amyloid's toxic effects on nerve cells, in the laboratory.
"In light of the chronic exposure of industry workers to DA, this study raises the troubling possibility of long-term neurological toxicity mediated by DA," said the researchers.

© HealthDay

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Another ingredient in artificial popcorn butter has been found to pose a potential health risk.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:08 AM
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