A rare medical condition called flavorings-related lung disease harms the bronchioles, the tiniest airways in the lung. Inflammation linked to popcorn lung over time drives lung tissues and air passages to scar and constrict, which makes breathing difficult.

The chemical diacetyl, which was historically frequently employed to give food goods a rich, buttery flavor, gives the disease known as flavorings-related lung disease its name. In reality, the illness was initially discovered in workers at a popcorn plant who had inhaled the toxin during work.

Flavorings-related lung disease is also known as popcorn lung or constrictive bronchiolitis.


Flavorings-related lung disease can present with mild symptoms that are simple to overlook or be confused with other lung conditions. People who have other respiratory disorders, particularly chronic ones like asthma, may not be able to distinguish between recent symptoms and persistent concerns.

Numerous other substances besides diacetyl can also result in popcorn lung. It can also be brought on by specific lung infections. After an illness or exposure to a toxin, symptoms often appear 2 to 8 weeks later and progressively get worse over the next weeks or months.

The most typical warning signs and symptoms are:

  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing problem
  • Persistent eye, skin, nose, or mouth irritationĀ 
  • Unexplained fatigue


When a person exhibits the symptoms but does not have any other respiratory diseases, they are typically diagnosed with Flavorings-related lung disease.

When a doctor suspects a problem, they frequently do a thorough examination and study the patient’s medical file. The doctor will specifically search for potential causes, including exposure to harmful gases or infection.

To formally confirm the diagnosis, doctors could advise additional tests. These include:

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT Scans
  • Biopsy
  • Chest X-rays


Flavorings-related lung disease results in permanent lung tissue scarring. Additionally, once the illness has established itself and started narrowing the airways, there is no cure. However, there are treatments available to control or lessen symptoms and prevent additional lung damage.

Early detection and diagnosis of flavorings-related lung illness are essential. The severity of lung damage increases as the symptoms worsen, making therapy much more difficult.

Options for treatment include:

  • steroids
  • antibiotics
  • singulair medication
  • immunosuppressive drugs
  • supplemental oxygen
  • lung transplant

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