A Denver man sued two food companies and a grocer for causing a disease he says came from inhaling the smell of butter in microwave popcorn.
Wayne Watson suffers from bronchiolitis obliterans, aka “popcorn lung.” He says he ate two bags of microwaved popcorn every day for about a decade, and he says that food manufacturers should have warned consumers about the dangers of inhaling the buttery aromas.
Flavoring Agent Diacetyl Blamed
Watson’s attorneys blamed diacetyl, an artificial flavoring agent, for his lung problems. Some studies have suggested a link between diacetyl and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the video embedded above.
“They thought no consumer would ever be exposed to enough of it to make a difference,” Watson said. “Well, they rolled the dice and they lost.”
Most microwave popcorn manufacturers have stopped using diacetyl in their products after health concerns began to arise. “Popcorn lung” was common in manufacturing workers who worked with the chemical on a daily basis. Doctors diagnosed Watson with the disease in 2007, which reduced his lung capacity to 53 percent (“On a good day,” Watson said).
The jury sided with Watson. The popcorn manufacturers and stores that sold it – Gilster-Mary Lee Corp, Dillon Companies Inc. and The Kroger Co. – owe him $7.2 million. A representative for Gilster-Mary said that the company is currently “evaluating next steps.”
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Metier Law Firm, LLC – Denver injury attorneys