So it’s been found that a substance that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor, diacetyl, is not especially good to breathe. Are you likely to breathe it at home? Probably not, but the workers who make microwave popcorn have been hurt by it, and now many need lung transplants. More here: That buttery aroma might be toxic, too.
Now, people can ingest a lot of things they can’t breathe (see, for example, water). And diacetyl can occur naturally in dairy and wine. This suggests it should be safe to eat. That said, why isn’t the FDA testing it and why hasn’t the EPA released the results of its studies? Worrisome behavior from an administration famous for being less than forthright.
While companies like Pop Weaver are responsibly turning to alternatives, if you have a stove, you don’t need microwave popcorn at all. You can make perfectly good (and far better tasting) popcorn in just a few minutes. Coat the bottom a large, lidded pot with oil. Put in just enough popcorn to coat the bottom of the pot. Turn on the heat (I find medium works pretty well). Pop the corn until the popping’s finished. Voila, homemade instant popcorn. If it’s something I can make, it’s got to be really easy. And the workers will appreciate being able to focus on turning out products which won’t kill them.