The compound Diacetyl naturally occurs in alcoholic beverages and provides a buttery smell and flavor to margarine, microwave popcorn and baked foods. However, our popcorn lung lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are warning consumers of recent studies that have linked this compound to serious injuries, including Bronchiolitis Obliterans (popularly known as popcorn lung). The FDA’s March 2012 toxicology report states that exposure to non-natural and diacetyl-containing butter flavoring could lead to a serious but rare form of lung disease.
CBS News recently published a report of a Colorado man who won $7 million ina popcorn lung lawsuit. The man developed popcorn lung after consuming two bags of popcorn daily over the course of about 10 years. The judgment came following a day and a half of deliberations in a Denver courtroom.
The 59-year-old plaintiff was diagnosed as having respiratory issues back in 2007. That was the very same year in which he first realized that he had lung trouble. He noticed that when he was in church choir practice, he could not sustain his notes for as long as he used to. His physician, a lung specialist in Denver, was at first unsure of what was causing his condition. The physician suspected vapors from popcorn’s butter flavoring may be to blame, which was confirmed when the man admitted the large amount of popcorn that he consumed over the years.
The jury that awarded the settlement found the popcorn manufacturer 80 percent guilty. The parent companies of the supermarket where the man bought the popcorn were found guilty of the remaining 20 percent. The supermarket chain plans to appeal.
The manufacturer tried to argue that millions of customers safely used microwave popcorn. However, the manufacturer could not deny that in 2004, another jury awarded a 32 million settlement to a man who developed lung damage when he worked in that manufacturer’s plant. Twenty-nine other workers also had pending popcorn lung cases at that time.
The symptoms of popcorn lung disease include wheezing, cough, and shortening of breath that increases on exertion, night sweats, weight loss and fever. The sad truth about the disease is that it cannot be reversed. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms, you should confirm the diagnosis with a doctor. If the diagnosis is confirmed to be popcorn lung, you should consider getting the help of a popcorn lung disease attorney to take legal action.
These are some of the companies associated with popcorn lung disease – American Popcorn Company, Amish Country Popcorn, Con-Agra Foods, Cornfields, Manson industries, Mastertaste, Lincoln Snacks Company, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Gilster-Mary Lee and Mission Flavors & Fragrances.
Connection to Alzheimer’s Plaque Buildup
Apart from being a cause for popcorn lung, diacetyl has been linked to plaques that point to Alzheimer’s. According to another article in CBS news, scientists in Minnesota determined that DA (diacetyl) has a structure similar to that of a beta-amyloid protein producing substance. Researchers also determined that DA increased the degree of beta-amyloid clumping, which in turn had a toxic impact on nerve cells which the scientists cultivated in a laboratory. Amyloid clumping that results in plaque formation is a symptom of Alzheimer’s.