What Is Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn lung is a type of lung disease that has been directly linked to the chemicals used in microwave popcorn. This disease is due to exposure to a chemical known as diacetyl, and has been attributed to people being diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans.
Bronchiolitis obliterans is characterized by severe symptoms that are persistent and include the following: wheezing, a dry cough that does not produce any phlegm, and shortness of breath that can be debilitating. In a number of cases involving popcorn lung, the symptoms that were reported were misdiagnosed as pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis.
In reality, popcorn lung is a severe disease that is somewhat rare and has been found at high rates amongst workers at microwave popcorn factories, as well as workers at flavor production factories. It has also been seen in consumers who admittedly ate large amounts of butter flavored microwave popcorn on a daily basis.
The main reason for popcorn lung is exposure to the chemical diacetyl. This chemical is used to give the popcorn its tasty butter flavor. The companies that manufactured, sold, and even used the chemical that flavored the popcorn owed consumers and factory workers a duty of care to properly test the product for safety and warn people as to any potential dangers regarding the product. Because this duty of care was breached, there have been a number of popcorn lung lawsuits reported, with results leading to millions of dollars of compensation being awarded to those who have come down with the condition of bronchiolitis obliterans.
Popcorn lung poses serious physical consequences to those affected because it causes severe lung disease that is not reversible. This type of lung disease causes inflammation that produces scarring, leading to tissues becoming hardening, and airways becoming obstructed. It also often causes patients to need a lung transplant in order to survive.
Lawsuits that have been filed for people who have contracted popcorn lung are based upon the following principles: the manufacturer of the chemical diacetyl failed to provide adequate warning regarding the possible risk of inhaling the vapors of the butter popcorn flavoring; proper testing was not conducted that would have provided evidence that the vapors from the microwave popcorn could cause workers exposed to it on a regular basis to suffer damage to their respiratory systems, lungs, or other respiratory issues; the manufacturer did not properly report the side effects of the chemical to the factory workers; the manufacturer did not provide instructions for proper use of the butter flavoring for the microwave popcorn or warning about properly using the chemical; the manufacturer did not provide warnings or instructions regarding proper ventilation and respiratory protection for the factory workers when using the chemical; the manufacturer did not provide warnings about monitoring at regular periods to gather information on exposure for factory workers in order to ensure over exposure to the chemical did not take place.
If you or someone you know was harmed after being exposed to the chemicals used to make the butter flavoring for microwave popcorn it is important that you understand you do have legal rights, and you may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. A number of individuals who have worked in factories that made microwave popcorn or the chemicals used for the flavorings have brought forth successful suits to help cover their expenses for past, present, and future medical bills, as well as pain and suffering, loss of income, and punitive damages.
The best course of action for bringing forth a suit is to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of product liability and negligence. These attorneys are extremely skilled in this area of the law and are very qualified to handle your case. Your attorney will review the details of your claim, gather evidence, collect medical records, interview parties pertinent to the case, arrange for expert testimony if needed, and deal directly with the manufacturer, factory, and all other responsible parties.
Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you do not have to worry about paying a cent while your case is pending. You will not have to pay anything until the time your case settles. Without this added worry, you can rest assured you have a legal professional handling your case in your best interest, while you focus on your personal health and well being.
The public places a great deal of trust in the products that are being used either commercially or personally, and expects they are safe. People place their faith in manufacturers and expect that they have taken all of the steps necessary to produce a product that will not cause more harm than good, and that all tests have been completed to ensure this level of care. When this trust has been broken and innocent people have been injured or even killed because of negligence, action needs to be taken. It is for this very reason that court systems often award injured parties punitive damages in these types of cases. Punitive damages are meant to do nothing more than punish the party responsible in an effort to deter them from committing similar acts in the future.
Even though hiring a personal injury attorney and filing a lawsuit cannot undo the damage that has been done, and it cannot erase your pain and suffering, it can help to secure your future, and protect the future of others. Issues such as popcorn lung could have and should have been avoided if the manufacturer acted in a responsible manner, and this type of serious issue cannot be ignored.
Since these types of cases can be quite complex, and the laws surrounding them can vary a great deal from state to state, it is advisable that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can following a diagnosis of popcorn lung. The sooner you contact a legal professional for help, the sooner you can start to rebuild the broken pieces of your life.