- March 29, 2018
PFAS in popcorn | Rapper Makes Educational Video About Toxic Microwave Popcorn
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and Campaign for Healthier Solutions (CHS) released a video featuring well-known Oakland rapper Mystic and a local kindergarten class to educate families about dangerous toxic chemicals put in microwave popcorn bags. The cute and engaging “rap video”—shot at Roses in Concrete Community School in East Oakland— and a supporting fact sheet also teach families how to make their own safe, toxic-free microwave popcorn.
Independent testing by CEH found fluorinated additives (PFAS) in every microwave popcorn bag tested. PFAS confuse our bodies’ hormones and also damage the liver and kidney. And children are exposed often because they eat popcorn frequently. There are hundreds of PFAS chemicals, yet there is no publicly available information about which ones are used in microwave popcorn products.
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that certain PFAS chemicals could migrate out of microwave popcorn bags and contaminate popcorn. A 2007 publication from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested 17 types of microwave popcorn from eight different brands and detected PFAS in the air from just-heated popcorn bags, suggesting people might also inhale these chemicals when eating microwave popcorn.
All the major microwave popcorn brands tested contained PFAS, including ACT II, Pop Secret, Orville Redenbacher’s, Popweaver, Regal Cinemas, and Clover Valley.
The video is part of a larger effort to convince discount retailers including Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, and 99 Cents Only to embrace greater corporate responsibility and protect the health of customers and their families. As part of this effort, CEH focused its testing on bags from Dollar Stores. Dollar Stores – frequented by millions of low-income Americans on tight budgets – do not typically provide popcorn kernels as other retailers have, which are needed for making safer popcorn.
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