'Everywhere' chemical in cancer link
Love popcorn? Whatever you do, don't make yours in the microwave -- because nuked popcorn contains a chemical you won't find listed in the ingredients.
And it can wreck your health.
It's not the popcorn itself or even the fake buttery spread -- although, let's face it, those are bad enough.
It's C-8P, or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used to manufacture the heat-resistant fluoropolymers used in microwave popcorn packaging, fast food burger wrappers, nonstick cookware, and more.
It's practically everywhere, really -- and now, a team of independent scientists says this stuff could give you cancer.
And how we found out about this disease link is an absolute tragedy.
Years ago, the groundwater in a region of West Virginia was contaminated with PFOA from a chemical plant that makes the stuff. But the people didn't know it. Not at first anyway -- so for years, they were getting low-but-constant levels of it from their drinking water.
Now, they're paying the price: Scientists brought in to monitor the community say they've established a "probable link" between PFOA exposure and both kidney and testicular cancer.
In fact, high levels of PFOA increased the risk of kidney cancer by 170 percent, according to the panel.
Last year, the same panel found a link between the chemical and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) -- and there could be more revelations to come as the panel gets ready to release a series of reports on possible links between PFOA and heart disease, thyroid problems, neurological issues in children, and more.
I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, work on avoiding these chemicals as much as you can, and not just PFOA. This stuff is part of an entire class of dangerous chemicals called PFCs, and they're used to make things waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, heat-resistant, and non-stick.
And along with cancer, they've been linked to hypothyroidism, immune system problems, reproductive disorders, and more.
What makes this so much worse is that these chemicals stay in the body for a very long time. The half-life of PFOA -- the amount of time it takes for half of the original amount to leave the body -- is 4.4 years.
Another PFC, PFOS, has a half-life of nine years.
Clearly, a little bit goes a very long way.
Since they're in everything, they're not easy to avoid -- so let me get you started: You can pop ordinary popcorn kernels in your microwave using nothing more than a plain brown paper lunch bag.
You don't even need oil.
It's cheap, easy, and every bit as fast. Not to mention chemical-free... and no fake buttery spread.