"Popcorn lung" lawsuits, like any great works of fiction, always contain one particularly memorable line, usually inserted when the lawyer involved has to make the case that his or her client is the biggest popped kernel addict the world has ever seen.
The condition is basically a nastier form of asthma. And it's caused, scientists believe, by diacetyl, a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its buttery flavor.
In 2008, big popcorn producers like ConAgra removed diacetyl. Since then a number of lawsuits have been filed by consumers like Agnes Mercado of Queens, who claims the three bags a day she ate for 16 years have contributed to an irreversible lung disease that will require a transplant.
There is a big difference between the suits filed by compulsive eaters like Mercado and the ones brought by ConAgra employees who spent years in factories where they were exposed to the chemical. The former had the option not to eat that third bag (or the first); the latter were hurt just by going to work.
Unlike cigarettes or asbestos that do damage to passive users, popcorn lung only afflicts those who'd blow Orville to get some Redenbacher. And given how much non-food is in our food these days, it's likely that eating a metric ton of any processed crap is potentially lethal.
Maybe there's such a thing as licorice lung, but it hasn't been discovered yet because most people aren't willing to eat their body weight in Good & Plentys. Maybe there's an additive in Heinz 57 that turns you cross-eyed and bow-legged if you suck down a bottle a day.
Or maybe when your mom said "moderation in everything" she was giving you the best advice you could ever get. And maybe that bowl just didn't need to be licked in the first place.