Popcorn Lung Illness News - FindLaw
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors| Last reviewed June 20, 2016
September 6, 2007: First Case of 'Popcorn Lung' in Consumer
For a number of years, workers at microwave popcorn manufacturing plants have been at known risk of developing the lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans (called "popcorn lung") due to on-the-job exposure to diacetyl, a chemical found in buttery flavoring additive. Today, ABC News reports the first known case of "popcorn lung" in a consumer who ate large quantities of microwave popcorn. According to ABC, Wayne Watson of Centennial, Colorado "ate about two bags daily, but now he has quit because of the havoc it reeked on his lungs."
September 5, 2007: Popcorn Makers to Remove Flavoring Chemical
A number of microwave popcorn manufacturers are making efforts to remove the chemical food additive diacetyl from their products. Diacetyl, which is found in butter flavoring mixtures used in microwave popcorn, may cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a lung disease. The New York Times reports that "the three companies that sell Orville Redenbacher, Act II, Pop Secret and Jolly Time microwave popcorn said they planned to change the recipes for their butter-flavored microwave popcorn to remove diacetyl."
October 28, 2005:Federal Judge Dismisses Popcorn Worker's Fraud Claims
A popcorn factory worker filed fraud and civil-conspiracyclaims against several butter-flavor manufacturers, alleging that exposure to achemical in the flavorings (diacetyl) caused respiratory injuries. The plaintiff also contended that thedefendants concealed government research about the dangers of these flavorings.A federal judge dismissed the fraud claims because the plaintiff failed toallege facts that could rise to the level of fraud under the law.
November 23, 2004:Defendants Prevail in Popcorn Butter Case
Four employees at a popcorn processing plant in Jasper, Missouri filed suitagainst the manufacturers of an artificial buttering flavor used in popcorn.The plaintiffs claimed that they developed lung disease due to exposure to diacetyl,the chemical used in butter flavorings.The jury found in favor of the defendants, who argued that they couldnot have known about (or warned of the potential dangers caused by) diacetylexposure.