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Popcorn Workers Lung

Melanie H. Muhlstock
  • Avvo
  • Popcorn Workers Lung Injury Lawsuits

    Bronchiolitis Obliterans, aka Popcorn Workers Lung, is an obstructive lung disease in which the bronchioles of the lungs are blocked by the growth of fibrous tissue. The nickname "Popcorn Workers Lung" has been given to Bronchiolitis Obliterans because workers in factories that make microwavable popcorn and that use diacetyl for the buttery flavoring are known to contract the disease. The disease is irreversible, and can become so severe that a lung transplant may be necessary. Popcorn Workers Lung is a rare disorder that is known to be caused by repeated exposure to toxic gases, namely diacetyl.

    Symptoms of Bronchiolitis Obliterans

    The symptoms of Popcorn Workers Lung usually occur gradually and become progressively worse. However, the sudden onset of severe symptoms is not unheard of. Signs of this disease include:

    • Coughing (usually without phlegm)
    • Shortness of breath on exertion
    • Fever
    • Night sweats
    • Weight loss
    • Difficulty blowing air out fast and no improvement with asthma medication

    A variety of breathing tests, chest X-rays, chest scans and lung biopsies are usually needed in order to diagnose bronchiolitis obliterans. Often, patients are thought to have pneumonia, asthma or other lung ailments before a final diagnosis of Popcorn Workers Lung is made.

    Popcorn Workers Lung Injury Lawsuits Popcorn Workers Lung Injury Lawsuits Parker | Waichman YouTube Videos

    Bronchiolitis Obliterans and Diacetyl Exposure

    Diacetyl, a chemical used to give microwave popcorn and other snacks a buttery flavor, has been associated with the onset of bronchiolitis obliterans. In 2003 and 2004, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) linked the development of Popcorn Workers Lung in hundreds of workers at six Midwestern popcorn factories to diacetyl exposure. The Centers for Disease Control has made a similar link between diacetyl and bronchiolitis obliterans. In 2007, two major popcorn manufacturers decided to discontinue the use of diacetyl in their microwave popcorn. Weaver Popcorn and ConAgra Foods, Inc. both announced the move as a way to protect worker health.

    In June of 2007, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was informed of a patient who had developed bronchiolitis obliterans despite never having worked in the popcorn or flavorings industry. Reportedly, the man had been eating at least two bags of butter-flavored microwave popcorn everyday for 15 years prior to his diagnosis. The FDA is now investigating to see if his disease is linked to the consumption of diacetyl in microwave popcorn.

    Popcorn Lung and E-Cigarettes

    Diacetyl exposure has also been linked to the liquid in e-cigarettes. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a physician and researcher at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens and an e-cigarette (EC) user, was among the first to highlight flavoring concerns with e-cigarettes. In 2014, he published a study that found that 74 percent of 159 sweet e-cigarette flavors contained diacetyl or acetyl propionyl, a similar chemical substitute. Findings revealed that nearly half of the tested products would expose users to levels that exceed recommended safety limits. The chemicals "were found in a large proportion of sweet-flavored EC liquids, with many of them exposing users to higher than allowed safety levels. Their presence in EC liquids represents an avoidable risk. Proper measures should be taken by EC liquid manufacturers and flavoring suppliers to eliminate these hazards from the products without necessarily limiting the availability of sweet flavors," the study concluded.

    Parker | Waichman Logo Popcorn Workers Lung Victims Legal Rights
    If you or a loved one developed popcorn workers lung (bronchiolitis obliterans) as a result of diacetyl exposure from microwave popcorn or e-cigarettes, you may have valuable legal rights. Please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today for a free lawsuit case review by one of our qualified attorneys.


    Popcorn Workers LungRSS Feed

    Study Links Diacetyl in E-Cigarette Flavoring to Popcorn Lung

    Dec 11, 2015
    Diacetyl in E-Cigarette Flavoring to Popcorn Lung Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have identified a chemical linked to respiratory disease in e-cigarettes, the Harvard Gazette reports. Environmental Health Perspectives published the study, which found that 75 percent of 51 tested e-cigarettes contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, or "Popcorn Lung." The condition is so named because it was discovered in workers who inhaled artificial butter...

    Jury Awards Popcorn Lung Victim $30 Million

    Aug 17, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
    Man who worked at Flavorchem Corp. plant in the Chicago area has been awarded $30 Million A man who worked at a Flavorchem Corp. plant in the Chicago area has been awarded $30 million in a Popcorn Lung lawsuit. According to a report in the Joplin Globe, the verdict is the largest rendered to date in a lawsuit involving the chemical diacetyl, an ingredient in butter flavoring. Popcorn Lung, known formally as Bronchiolitis obliterans, is a potentially life-threatening, irreversible ailment,...

    Popcorn Lung Reported in Consumers

    Feb 12, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
    Popcorn Lung an illness once thought to be confined to snack food industry workers “Popcorn Lung”, an illness once thought to be confined to snack food industry workers, is turning up in consumers with increasing frequency.  Popcorn Lung has been linked to diacetyl, a chemical used in microwave popcorn and other foods, to impart them with a rich, buttery flavor. Popcorn Lung, known formally as Bronchiolitis obliterans, is a potentially life-threatening, irreversible...

    Labor Department Plans New Regulations For Diacetyl, Industrial Dust

    Apr 28, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
    The Labor Department is Finally Making Plans to Suggest New Rules The Labor Department is finally making plans to suggest new rules aimed both at limiting exposure to the chemical diacetyl and preventing industrial dust accidents, the Associated Press (AP) is reporting. Diacetyl is the chemical that gives food—specifically, microwave popcorn—a buttery flavor and which has been linked to severe lung disease. In February 2008, an explosion at an Imperial Sugar Company plant ...

    OSHA Will Finally Take Action On Popcorn Workers Lung

    Mar 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
    Department of Labor has Directed the OSHA to Speed up the Establishment of New Rules to Protect Workers in the Snack and Flavorings Industry The Department of Labor has directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to speed up the establishment of new rules to protect workers in the snack and flavorings industry from the threat of a disease known as Popcorn Workers Lung.  According to The Wall Street Journal, the directive is an indication that the Obama...

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