Diacetyl is an organic compound also known by the name butanedione, and it comes with a buttery flavor. Therefore, it is used as a food additive in many products and it should be safe to eat. In fact, you can find it in caramel and butterscotch, as well as cheese and butter.
Despite the fact that it is harmless if you eat it, diacetyl can become dangerous if it is inhaled. After it has been discovered that the diacetyl in popcorn and other foods can cause lung diseases. After this has been discovered and people also found out that some of them were exposed to the toxin, a series of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people exposed.
The popcorn lung lawsuits targets all the food industries that use diacetyl, not only the popcorn one. In fact, the chemical compound is used by numerous food industries, even when it comes to e-cigarettes, pet food manufacturing or coffee roasting.
Wayne Watson was the first customer who developed this disease. He ate two bags of microwave popcorn every day for ten years. His case was an important one because it determined major popcorn manufacturers to change diacetyl with other substances.
Unfortunately, it appears that the other alternatives are just as damaging. Therefore, more lawsuits have emerged, and they target various flavoring industries. One example is Tanu Vtuvei, who worked for diacetyl for almost ten years and he lost %60 of his lung capacity. A jury in Orange County California offered him $2.6 million as compensation.
Diacetyl appears in various industries
While it is usually mentioned when it comes to popcorn, you should know that diacetyl appears in many other industries. For example, electronic cigarettes that come with flavors such as bubble gum or cotton candy have diacetyl as well. In this case it becomes even more dangerous, because it is heated.
The commercial roasting and grinding of coffee beans can also release the chemical into the air. Bronchiolitis obliterans symptoms have also appeared for per food workers. In this case, the workers are exposed to diacetyl in the fabrics since it occurs in the pet food manufacturing process, during the roasting and smoking.
Diacetyl can be extremely harmful
Diacetyl can be consumed and this has been confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already. However, it can become very damaging if you inhale it or heat it. The side effects are extremely serious and they can lead to scar tissue build-up in the lungs. This could eventually block airflow and it will damage your lungs. Usually “popcorn lung” evolves gradually and can begin with a non-productive cough.
The worst part about diacetyl is the fact that we do not for sure how it is regulated. According to the Center for Public Integrity it is “A secretive food industry trade group that has no in-house employees, no office of its own and a minuscule budget.”
In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still examining the effects of diacetyl after they found out about the exposure of the workers.
Finding a lawyer for your diacetyl lawsuit
If are planning to file a popcorn lung lawsuit, then you should find the right lawyer for your diacetyl case. You should find someone that is accustomed to mass-tort litigations, which means that you need someone with a little more experience. Cases from all over the country should come together in one courtroom so that things move faster.