Friday, September 7, 2007

For the love of popcorn

People have yet to get sick of improving on nature but they do get sick from it.

Today’s case in point: buttery popcorn. While lung disease used to be the nearly exclusive domain of smokers and coal workers, modern technology and consumer tastes bring us into the popcorn factory, where a potentially fatal disease called popcorn lung has been contracted by workers exposed to the chemicals that give popcorn its buttery flavor, in particular diacetyl, which combines two groups of methyl and carbon monoxide into one molecule with that distinct buttery aroma so appealing to popcorn lovers.

A new study published by British medical journal The Lancet said artificial additives may increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in any child, not just one diagnosed with learning disabilities due to ADD or ADHD.

Doing the math often means making and testing hypotheses. These two stories support the hypothesis that what smells good and tastes good may not be good if it was made by people and not nature.

Just food for thought.

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