Butter Flavoring Lung Exposure to Popcorn Workers Lung Disease (Bronchiolitis Obliterans) Diacetyl Lawsuit Product Liability Class Action Lawsuit Help In 2000, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched an investigation into lung illnesses among workers at a Missouri popcorn plant. The agency was alarmed at the high incidence of bronchiolitis obliterans and linked the disease to exposure to diacetyl.The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) found that from 1992 to 2000 eight former workers of the Gilster-Mary Lee microwave popcorn plant in Jasper, Missouri, developed a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, or chronic scarring of the airways. The disease is extremely rare in younger workers persons and has been named popcorn workers lung by some. Diacetyl is a substance frequently used in the food industry as an inexpensive way to enhance flavor or imitate the taste of butter. NIOSH has linked diacetyl found in butter flavoring to lung disease that affected nearly 200 workers at popcorn plants. The problem is not limited to popcorn plants. In fact, NIOSH has declared that workers in other food plants are being affected by this potentially fatal disease Diacetyl Inhalation Causes Bronchiolitis Obliterans The main respiratory symptoms experienced by workers affected by bronchiolitis obliterans include cough (usually without phlegm) and shortness of breath on exertion. The severity of the lung symptoms can range from only a mild cough to severe cough and shortness of breath on exertion. These symptoms typically do not improve when the worker goes home at the end of the workday or on weekends or vacations. Usually these symptoms are gradual in onset and progressive, but severe symptoms can occur suddenly. Some workers may experience fever, night sweats, and weight loss. Before arriving at a final diagnosis, doctors of affected workers initially thought that the symptoms might be due to asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, or smoking. A component of artificial butter flavor is the chemical diacetyl. It is used for aroma and taste in butter, some cheeses and snack and bakery products. In tests at NIOSH, laboratory rats that breathed high concentrations of vapors from butter flavoring, including diacetyl, developed significant airway damage. Products Liability Lawsuit Help for Victims of Diacetyl Injury If you have developed an injury or disease due to working with artificial butter flavoring or other Diacetyl products, then call us Toll Free at 1-800-883-9858
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