Popcorn Lung Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Diacetyl you may be entitled to compensation. A diagnosis of bronchiolitis obliterans or popcorn lung is not necessary at this stage. Settlements for victims and their families have already been paid. If you think you may have a case do not delay. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation form and get started today.
In 2000 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was called in to investigate health problems impacting workers at a Missouri popcorn manufacturing facility. NIOSH concluded that employees of the Gilster-Mary Lee popcorn plant in Jasper, Missouri were exhibiting respiratory problems and that sixteen of them may have developed bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and serious lung affliction. Further, the agency concluded that the hazard these employees had been exposed to was vapors from diacetyl, a compound used to provide butter flavoring to popcorn.
Today, that disease is also known as “popcorn worker’s lung.” The agency issued a recommendation to the plant owners that they take precautionary measures to protect their employees. In 2003, NIOSH sent a warning notice to about 4,000 businesses that used food flavorings in the production process about the hazards of diacetyl vapor.
Out of Flavor – Illinois News 5 Expose on Diacetyl
Popcorn worker’s lung is a rare affliction usually found only in people who are poisoned by chemical fires or chemical warfare or in lung transplant patients. The disease can render its victims unable to exert even a little energy without becoming winded or faint. Exposure to diacetyl can reduce lung capacity from its normal level of 80% to no more than 16% – 21%. Organized labor picked up the issue in 2003 as word began to spread about the hazard to popcorn workers, and more cases of the disease were exposed in California and other states.
In 2004 one of the Missouri victims of popcorn worker’s lung was awarded $20 million in damages in a suit against the manufacturer of diacetyl flavoring. Since then, over $100 million in popcorn lung lawsuit damages have been awarded in dozens of cases. There have been class action popcorn lung lawsuits along with individual complaints. Most have been filed against food flavoring manufacturers.
$20 Million Dollar Verdict – The Early Show
One consumer who routinely ate two bags a day of microwave popcorn has been diagnosed with the disease. He filed his own suit against Kroger’s, the supermarket chain where he shopped for groceries. As cases of popcorn worker’s lung continue to emerge, more actions are being filed against food flavoring manufacturers.
In late 2007 several major microwave popcorn manufacturers including Con-Agra and Jolly Time announced that they would discontinue the use of diacetyl. To date there have been over five hundred popcorn lung lawsuits filed on behalf of food workers; all of them have been employees at popcorn plants. However according to a report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, food scientists estimate that diacetyl is used as an additive in over 6,000 types of prepared foods including frozen foods, baked goods, snack foods and candy. Just how far the threat of diacetyl vapors extends into the workplace remains to be seen.
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