Glitter Lung

Status: Satire mistaken as news
Last week The Onion ran a story reporting that increasing numbers of elementary-school art teachers are coming down with "glitter lung" (aka pneumosparklyosis), a disease caused by inhaling too much glitter.

"When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in elementary-school-related respiratory diseases. "Those sufferers who are not put on a rigorous program of treatment often spend their last days on respirators, hacking up a thick, dazzling mucus."

Apparently the story quickly made its way to online forums frequented by elementary school teachers, where some people mistook it for a serious article. This has prompted the lung disease specialist on to post a statement assuring people that "There is no such lung disease as Glitter Lung":

Although powdered glitter, not the typical square-flaked glitter, could be inhaled should someone throw a large handful of it into the air, it is not a danger when used as indicated. Furthermore, the larger, most common square flaked glitter is too large to pass down into the lungs and cause lung disease.


Posted on Wed Nov 30, 2005


I wonder if mucus is prettier if it's glittery.
Posted by Cathy  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  09:43 PM
people are so stupid.
Posted by thephrog  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  10:04 PM
Hehehehe, I read this on the onion last week. It's pretty crazy when you read it. It's hard to believe that people actually thought it may be true.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  10:16 PM
Some people will believe just about anything if it is presented to them in a semi-logical way. They've probably read all about people inhaling lead and asbestos and think, "Why not glitter, too?"

It is rather disturbing, though, just how bad for your health school art rooms can be. I did some safety inspections for the state of Maryland a while back, and some of the schools' art departments were just as bad (if not worse) than their biology and chemistry labs. It can be safer to work in a chemical plant than in a school.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  11:13 PM
A smoking art teacher's lung would have a very unique look for innards. Black and glitter: What a wonderful contrast!
Posted by Zep  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  11:54 PM
And what of those poor souls slaving away hour after hour down in the sparkling darkness of the glitter mines every day for minimum wage? You know how notoriously lax the health regulations concerning the mining of art supplies is; most of those workers aren't even given proper face masks! So write to your congressman/MP today, and support your local glitter miners!
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  02:04 AM
Huh? People who believed this is real are actually being allowed to teach children?

What is this - Kansas??
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  06:26 AM
Oh dear, I think I might be a bit guilty of spreading this. I sent this to a childcare teacher friend last week, just as a funny email. Knowing that she's not the most technical person in the world, perhaps I should have really emphasised 'This is a joke'. She's probably called the union to ask about her rights too. I've played practicaly jokes on her before where she's bought it hook, line and sinker. I've once changed her phone welcome message to 'Internal battery low - see dealer for replacement'. She was harrassing a poor phone store salesman for ages till they worked it out.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  06:45 AM
I read this in the Onion. It was amusing, then. This, however, is just sad. Almost makes me want to promote homeschooling...
Posted by Tru  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  08:39 AM
I believe glitter lung is possible. My gramps had it, but instead of glitter, it was from cigarettes. it was called Cigarette Lung. Remember kids- stay away from glitter.
Posted by booch  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  10:26 AM
people should of known it was a satire, HELLO this is coming from "the onion."

but i do love the onion, even though its a satire, i still love to read it
Posted by Eva  on  Mon Feb 20, 2006  at  07:37 PM
Sounds like something out of the enquirer. That is so funny.
Posted by Respironics Evergo  on  Mon Jan 05, 2009  at  08:22 PM
This was obviously a hoax but I know of someone in England who inhaled some glitter (a classroom assistant) and she has become very ill - she is unable to work. I am wondering whether to stop my boys using glitter because of this. (I found the hoax story when I was looking for info on the net)on glitter and its dangers
Posted by mairi  on  Mon May 18, 2009  at  03:35 AM
i inhaled glitter at a gig, was coughing it up for weeks! hurt like crazy!
Posted by Katrina  on  Tue Apr 10, 2012  at  03:28 PM
Glitter lung is real. As someone who stocks an arts and crafts store my co-workers and I come into contact with very dangerous chemicals on a daily basis. One has even removed a strand of glitter from her tear duct several inches long. When we open the boxes shipped directly from China noxus fumes and sometimes blast of glitter fly out. Over time this can and will cause lung problems and its sad to day but our company won't believe us with post like the onion's floating around
Posted by nick b  on  Mon Dec 10, 2012  at  03:56 AM
If glitter is pieces of plastic, then these will not dissolve in water. So, when these are inhaled into the lungs, how will these pieces be ever removed?
Coughing helps remove a lot of nasty stuff in the windpipe, but if these pieces are deep down in the lung area, won't they stay there forever and reduce lung capacity?
Posted by A Maira  on  Fri May 10, 2013  at  05:11 PM
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