Testing finds chemical additive in microwave popcorn

You may be getting more than just extra buttery flavor when you pop a quick and easy snack.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) said it’s independent testing found chemical fluorine in 19 brands of microwave popcorn as a result of a food additive put in the bags.

Polyfluro Alkyl Substances, PFA’s, are an FDA approved chemical used in lots of food packaging and considered safe.

A staff scientist for CEH said their testing did not pinpoint exactly what type of PFA is being used on microwaveable popcorn bags, but said there is peer-reviewed research that shows the same family of chemicals can be toxic to the liver and hormones.

“We know this chemical family moves from the bag to the popcorn, when the popcorn is popped. But we don’t know what these chemicals are. We don’t know specific details about their health hazards but there’s enough information out there to make us worried,” said Caroline Cox.

All of the popcorn was purchased at dollar stores in Texas and California. Now the group is pushing those stores to carry popcorn kernels as a healthier alternative and showing people how to keep the convenience but lose the chemicals.

CEH and the Campaign for Healthier Solutions released a video to promote making a do it yourself microwave popcorn using kernels and a brown paper bag.

Rapper Mystic raps along with a group of kindergarteners as they make their own microwave popcorn in a matter of minutes. To watch, click here.

“The popcorn is great. It tastes wonderful, and it’s quite a bit cheaper than buying microwave popcorn,” said Cox.

Neither Dollar Tree nor Dollar General would comment about the video or whether or not the stores that do not carry popcorn kernels will start selling them.

Dollar Tree in an email pointed out the use of PFAS is heavily regulated by the FDA.

“Based on their review of a substantial body of health and safety data, the FDA has determined the PFAS products used in microwave popcorn packaging are safe for their intended use,” said a representative for Dollar Tree.

Dollar General released a more general statement about it’s commitment to safety:

Two major food manufacturers who make microwave popcorn did not respond to emails.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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