You may not have ever heard of diacetyl, but chances are you’ve probably have tasted it. Diacetyl has a strong buttery flavor and is a byproduct of fermentation. In fact, it is one of the two compounds that give margarines and artificial butter substitutes their distinctive faux-butter taste.

Without question, diacetyl’s most popular usage is as a flavor additive in microwaveable popcorn. But as it turns out, your favorite movie snack may be bad for you in a much more serious way than you thought.

In 2007, Wayne Watson of Colorado contracted bronchiolitis obliterans, which has now been nicknamed “popcorn lung.” This disease severely restricts a person’s airflow due to inflammation and scarring—in some cases as much as 60%—and is believed to be caused by….you guessed it…popcorn, or more specifically, the diacetyl in popcorn.

Worse, the disease is irreversible, and the only option for treatment is a lung transplant when it becomes life-threatening.

Mr. Watson sued three microwaveable popcorn companies for his injuries and won. He was awarded over $7 million in damages.

It kind of sounds far-fetched, right? Well the scary thing is Mr. Watson’s illness wasn’t an isolated case.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), numerous studies have shown a possible link between long-term exposure to diacetyl and abnormal lung function. Researchers reached this conclusion by testing workers at 6 popcorn manufacturing facilities. In several of these cases where workers developed popcorn lung, diacetyl was identified as the probable cause.

Furthermore, the CDC states that “toxicology studies have shown that vapors from heated butter flavorings can cause damage to airways in animals.”

Although diacetyl has been linked to these and other cases of lung problems, it has not been conclusively determined to be the root source, and therefore continues to be consumed by the general public.

Does that mean my microwaveable popcorn is toxic?!

Not quite, so don’t freak out just yet. Diacetyl is GRAS-approved by the FDA to eat—it’s just not something you want to inhale.

In a blog post, the CDC made this statement to worried consumers: “Currently, even though there is little to suggest significant risk to normal consumers, a sensible precautionary approach is appropriate. Consumers could take simple precautions to minimize the amount of diacetyl and other chemicals that they breathe.”

That is why VaporFi refuses to use flavorings that contain diacetyl. There are other e-cigarette companies who admit their e-liquids contain trace amounts of the fake buttery flavor, but we don’t think any amount of diacetyl is acceptable as long as it is being linked to serious health issues.

Order your diacetyl-free e-liquid today and enjoy the taste of pure flavor. No fake butter taste here!