Popcorn is a delicious snack for movies, get togethers, road trips or just an afternoon snack. However it doesn’t come without hidden dangers.  I used to buy whatever brand microwave popcorn happened to be on sale at the grocery store. When I learned about the dangers of microwave popcorn bags I decided tha  this was a convenience I could live without. It’s actually quite easy to make homemade popcorn at home. An easy win to reduce toxins in your life!

4 Reasons to Ditch Microwave Popcorn

The Popcorn Bag

Chemicals are used to coat the inside of the popcorn bag.

One of these chemicals is Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

  • The EPA identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen” in 2005
  • Teflon and other nonstick chemicals known as PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health risks like cancer and thyroid disease.
  • This class of chemicals is also refered to as the forever Chemical. Studies show it stays in our bodies for years.

Some companies have removed the chemical from their bags. However don’t know for sure which brands still have it because it’s not listed on the label.  A report from 2019 tested popcorn bags from seven microwave popcorn brands and found that 2 of them had PFOS above the acceptable threshold, while the others had lower concentrations.

Do you want to eat cancer-causing chemicals with your popcorn?

Toxic Fumes

Do you love the smell of popcorn fresh from the microwave? I’m afraid I have bad news for you… The fake butter smell is toxic. The steam from the popcorn bag releases more than a dozen chemicals onto the air.

One chemical in particular is diacetyl

  • It is a respiratory toxin
  • Is associated with artificial butter flavoring
  • The heat from the microwave causes it to vaporize and disperse into the air
  • Diacetyl causes health issues when inhaled, not when it is eaten.
  • Chronic exposure can irritate and harm the lungs.
  • Linked to a disease called popcorn lung

Popcorn Lung

Popcorn lung is a rare form of lung disease.

  • According to the CDC when diacetyl is heated, it can cause a vapor that damages the airways and leads to narrowing of the lung’s airways caused by inflammation.
  • Its associated with popcorn factory workers who inhale the diacetyl fumes while they are working

Fortunately popcorn lung isn’t something we really need to worry about getting. Unless you work in a popcorn factory, or you eat 2 bags a day for 10 years. Yes this has actually happened to a few people.


What other ingredients are hiding in your popcorn? It looks like manufactures have been cleaning up their act and the ingredients look better than they used to, but there are still a few hidden things to be concerned about.

Microwave Popcorn Ingredients

  • TBHQ
    • A scary preservative that is linked to ADHD, asthma, allergies and dizziness in very small amounts.
    • There is an FDA limit of 0.02 percent or less of the oils in a food.
  • Natural & Artificial Flavor
    • Hidden ingredients could be MSG or Diactyl etc. We don’t know for sure.
  • Preservatives

Popcorn Can be Healthy

Don’t worry, you can still enjoy popcorn AND avoid toxins. Popcorn can be quite healthy.

Popcorn is

  • A whole grain
  • High in Fiber
  • High in vitamins and minerals
  • Relatively low in calories depending on what you season it with.

Super Simple Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

Homemade Popcorn is Easy

Homemade Popcorn Methods

  1. Pop on the stove top.
  2. Microwave the popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag.
  3. Use a popcorn popper (my preferred method)

Add melted butter and sea salt to your popped popcorn. Or try olive oil or coconut oil.  Enjoy your large bowl of popcorn.

The popcorn popper we have.
It’s still going strong after 8 years.

The bottom Line

Ditch the microwave popcorn bags and the health risks. Make your own. Sure you could save just a few minutes and a little effort by continuing to buy microwave popcorn bags OR you can make your own to your save money and your health!


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