Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Goofy Bill of the Week - Congress Passes Bill to Prevent 'Popcorn Lung' ??
It Looks Yummy and Buttery.......But It Could KILL YOU.. Uh, Not Really.
I'm going to try and add a recurring series to the Blog, like when I had the Milton Waddams Award. I'm calling it Goofy Congress Bills. Maybe stupid would be better, but who cares. I think you get the idea. We're going to start with HR 2693, also known as the Popcorn Lung Bill.
I know, I know....... "Mike, what the hell is Popcorn Lung?" You know that buttery taste you get with the butter flavored popcorn? Well that taste comes a chemical called diacetyl. Now, the chemical causes no problems for those who eat popcorn, the only danger is for the people who work in the plants that make popcorn. In fact, they're not even sure at this point that diacetyl is the true cause - it an educated guess.
Why don't they know for sure? Two reasons. First, there have not been many cases of Popcorn Lung, and secondly, no studies have been performed to confirm diacetyl's relationship. This is where things get goofy. If a chemical at a workplace is or may be causing illnesses, I thought that would be a job for OSHA. Right? Why is Congress sticking their noses in it then? They're not even sure what the cause is !
Now the kicker..... Nearly all of the major makers of popcorn have stopped using diacetyl. Apparently, there are plenty of way to add butter flavor - like, maybe BUTTER!! This tells me that diacetyl is probably the cause, because businesses rarely change production policy voluntarily. Still, this is ajob for OSHA to regulate - that's what they are there for. So why the bill? One word : money.
How many of those Ambulance Chaser commercials do you see a day? Well, those attorneys have a seriously strong lobby. By passing this bill, it easily gives a green light to litigation, and those attorneys can sue TODAY, rather than waiting years for an OSHA study. Case closed.
Wouldn't it be nice if Congress stayed in their own sandbox, instead of playing expert on everything? Everyone has their own job, let them do it.....