Popcorn Lung Disease

Popcorn Lung Disease

Popcorn lung disease known as Bronchiolitis obliterans is scarring of tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways.

It is a serious lung disease that causes wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. Symptom of popcorn lung disease is similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

The most common signs and symptoms of popcorn lung include:

  • Wheezing that is not related to bronchitis or asthma
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath associated with physical activity
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Rapid and heavy breathing
  • Persistent skin, eye, mouth, or nose irritation
  • Fever, night sweats, weight loss

What are the causes:

  • Fumes from industrial or cleaning chemicals (acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, ammonia etc)
  • Flavoring agents of food manufacturing facilities (diacetyl, 2, 3 pentanedione and acetoin)
  • Metallic fumes from construction activities
  • Industrial air particles and dust
  • Certain microbial respiratory infections
  • Immune conditions such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Certain drugs like penicillamine, 5-gluroracil and gold.
  • Transplant surgeries – lung, bone marrow or stem cell transplants


If a person has above symptoms without or not associated with any other respiratory conditions then doctor may suspect popcorn lung condition. To determine further doctor will look for possible exposure to toxic fumes or infections. Doctor may recommend further tests to confirm the disease – such as Bronchoscopy, Biopsy, Pulmonary function test, Computer tomography, Chest X rays.


The scarring caused by popcorn lung is irreversible. There is no cure for the condition. Treatment options are only to manage or reduce symptoms and limit further damage to lungs. Early detection is crucial because as the disease advances treatment becomes challenging.

Treatment options – Steroids, macrolide antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs that reduces inflammation, supplemental oxygen and in severe cases lung transplant.

If the diseases is diagnosed due to chemicals and toxins, patient must move to cleaner environment.

Does E-cigarettes can cause popcorn lung disease?

Diacetyl is found not only in popcorn or caramel, it is present in many e-cigarette flavors! It is added to e-juice liquid by some e-cigarette manufacturing companies to complement different flavorings like maple, coconut, vanilla etc.

Recent years diacetyl is removed from popcorn products. However, e-cigarette users are now directly inhaling this dangerous chemical that is causing this lung disease. Researchers from Harvard University found that 39 of 51 e-cigarette brands contain diacetyl!  Apart from diacetyl the other two flavoring chemicals namely, 2, 3 pentanedione and acetoin are present in 23 and 46 of the 51 flavors that researchers tested.

What are E-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes that include e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah and e-cigars are collectively known as ENDS – Electronic nicotine delivery systems. Heat element heats e-liquid from refillable cartridge releasing chemical filled aerosol.

The concern is both nicotine and flavoring chemicals. Youths are attracted by these E-cigarettes. It is not safe and any FEMA GRASTM status that appears on these products is false.

Popcorn lung disease is a severe disease and lungs function decreases due to scarring and is not reversible. Instead of exposing ourselves to harmful flavoring agents, toxins, smoking, infections, fumes etc – it is better to take precaution by improving health, eating healthy food and by creating and living in a clean environment.


Image credit: Vaporizers Direct https://vaporizersdirect.com.au/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/142721577@N04/42137167655 (CC By 2.0)

Author: HealthyLife | Posted on: February 19, 2018

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One Comment on “Popcorn Lung Disease”

  1. I had been hospitalized for 3 years in a row all in the same month march, for shortness of breath. They thought it was asthma. The last time which was this year, they hospitalized me for a week. Which they ran lots of test and determined I have COPD. The symptoms I had were shortness of breath, tired, and coughing. Oxygen doesn’t seem to help, medication wasn’t helping too (Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays).although my doctor was wanted me to use it, to reduce symptoms and slow down progression but I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects. I decided to adopt a more natural approach and started on COPD Herbal formula from Green House Herbal Clinic, the COPD natural formula immensely helped my condition, i had a total recovery from COPD with this natural herbal formula treatment. Green House Herbal Clinic official web site ww w. greenhouseherbalclinic. com. I feel alive again! The coughing, tiredness, shortness of breath and other symptoms has subsided.  I am very pleased with this treatment. sometimes i totally forget i ever had COPD,Don’t give up hope, My family are amazed at the change and rapid recovery from COPD. Needless to mention I haven’t smoked since the procedure and I enjoy walking the dog for my daily exercise

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