‘Popcorn Lung’

Larry Newkirk, of Spokane, Washington, was diagnosed with ‘popcorn lung‘ and has decided to sue ConAgra foods (makers of “Act II” popcorn) as a result. The lawsuit also names Shopko Stores, where he bought his microwavable popcorn, in addition to a list of other national and international companies. Newkirk is the second consumer (of the tens of millions of people who eat microwavable popcorn) to be diagnosed with ‘popcorn lung,’ which is a lung disease linked to diacetyl, a butter flavoring chemical.

Newkirk mentions his popcorn habit,

“I just loved popcorn, and I would eat four to six bags a day,” Newkirk told the Seattle P-I, “especially the ones with lots of butter that taste like you’re going to the theater.”

He further goes on to say,

“No one ever told me it was bad for me.”

Mr. Newkirk must be pretty out of touch with his health. Consider that a typical bag of Act II popcorn contains 3 servings at 170 calories per serving. This means each bag of popcorn contains 510 calories. At 6 bags per day, he would consume 3060 calories IN POPCORN ALONE! Even assuming he ate nothing but popcorn, this number is well over the recommended daily intake of 2000 calories. It is very obviously bad for you, Mr. Newkirk!

This is another shining example of the death of personal responsibility in the United States. Of course eating 18 servings of popcorn is bad for your health. 18 cheeseburgers a day is unhealthy. Drinking 18 beers a day has adverse health effects too! Spending 18 times more money than you make can be damaging to your financial wellbeing. Still, though, people choose to do these things anyways. Mr. Newkirk admits that he loves eating popcorn and he at it by his own free choice. Why, then, is it the fault of the manufacturer of the popcorn, or the shipping company that moves it, or the store that sells it, or the manufacturer of Mr. Newkirk’s car that he drove to the grocery store? The answer? It simply isn’t.

The “no one told me it was bad” mentality and the resulting “I’ll sue everyone I can” approach to dealing with one’s problems are destroying a fundamental American principle of personal responsibility and paving the way for the rise of a Nanny State.

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