$2.6 Million Verdict Delivered in Chemical Worker’s “Popcorn Lung” Lawsuit

Popcorn Lung Award

Written by Faith Anderson on February 19, 2015
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$2.6 Million Verdict Delivered in Chemical Worker’s “Popcorn Lung” Lawsuit

Victims of “popcorn lung” exposed to the chemical diacetyl on the job may be entitled to financial compensation for their occupational illness.

A California jury has awarded $2.6 million in damages to a man who suffered a serious respiratory disorder known as “popcorn lung” after being exposed to chemicals while working in a factory that made artificial butter flavoring for microwave popcorn. The trial involved a complaint brought by Tanu Vatuvei, 38, who was diagnosed with bronchitis obliterans after working at the Mission Flavors Fragrances Inc. plant in California for ten years. If you have been diagnosed with “popcorn lung,” and you believe exposure to artificial butter flavoring in microwave popcorn to be the cause, contact an experienced product liability lawyer today to explore your compensation options.

Link Between Artificial Flavoring and Lung Disease

According to allegations raised in his popcorn lung lawsuit, Vatuvei lost 60% of his lung capacity after being exposed to the chemical diacetyl, which was used in factories for years to give microwave popcorn its buttery smell. Because the majority of people who develop bronchitis obliterans work in plants where the butter flavoring diacetyl is used, the disease is more commonly referred to as “popcorn lung.” In addition to Vatuvei’s complaint, a growing number of popcorn lung lawsuits have been filed in recent years by factory workers exposed to the flavoring chemical on the job, and by consumers exposed to diacetyl from years of ingesting microwave popcorn.

What is Popcorn Lung?

The serious lung disease known as popcorn lung is characterized by symptoms such as the scarring and inflammation of small airways in the lungs known as bronchioles, which can lead to complications like reduced lung capacity and breathing difficulties. The condition is irreversible, and in some cases, may require a lung transplant for survival. Once the connection between diacetyl and popcorn lung came to the attention of the public, the microwave popcorn industry stopped using the potentially dangerous chemical in its products, and factories have begun using various substitutes to duplicate diacetyl’s flavoring effects.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Legal Help

During trial, Tanu Vatuvei indicated that he still has 40% of his lung capacity, and is currently not eligible for a lung transplant. However, it remains unclear whether the former factory worker’s lung condition has stabilized, or will worsen with time. If you believe you have been adversely affected by popcorn lung or another occupational disease resulting from on-the-job exposure to a dangerous chemical, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of workers injured in the workplace, and can help put you in touch with a reputable attorney who has experience handling work injury claims.

Posted Under: Legal, News, Occupational Disease, On The Job Injury, Work Related Lawsuits
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