Diacetyl is a compound commonly used to provide a buttery flavor to popcorn, as well as other snacks. While the FDA has determined that it is generally safe for use in food, exposure to Diacetyl through inhalation has been linked to a serious disease called Bronchiolitis Obliterans. This disease, while rare, occurs more commonly among those who work in popcorn factories.
If you believe you have been exposed to Diacetyl, a consultation with the attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton can help determine if you might be entitled to receive compensation for your damages.
Bronchiolitis Obliterans, also referred to as popcorn lung, causes severe inflammation and scarring in the small airways within the lungs. This damage leads the airways to be narrowed and even completely closed off. A higher percentage of BO cases occur among popcorn factory workers than among other people.
Symptoms of BO include:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry coughing
These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis or asthma. They can develop over a period of time, or they can begin suddenly.
The damage caused by BO is irreversible. In severe cases, sufferers must undergo a lung transplant.
Who is in Danger of Developing Bronchiolitis Obliterans?
Popcorn factory workers and those who work in other industries where Diacetyl is used to provide butter flavoring are most likely to develop BO. Some industry workers are exposed to more Diacetyl than others. These include employees whose work involves developing flavors and those who “test pop” bags of popcorn, often testing as many as a hundred bags every day. Both of these activities create high levels of exposure to Diacetyl.
Some popcorn manufacturers have discontinued use of Diacetyl in their flavoring formulas due to these issues, but some still use the compound. Some of these companies have their employees use gas masks as protection; however, many employees are still placing their health at great risk due to excessive exposure to Diacetyl. Litigation involving BO and Diacetyl exposure is underway in several states.
If you have been exposed to Diacetyl and believe you might be eligible for compensation, please contact the nationwide pharmaceutical injury lawyers at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton today to schedule a consultation.