Kernel-Loving Man Sues Over 'Popcorn-Lung' Disease
As we reported in September 2007, Wayne Watson was diagnosed as the first consumer known to have contracted "popcorn-lung," or bronchiolitis obliterans, due to consuming massive amounts of microwave popcorn.
Wayne Watson, from Centennial, Colorado, is thought to be the only consumer of popcorn to have developed the rare lung condition bronchiolitis obliterans or, to avoid a Latin name that includes a word resembling obliteration, "popcorn lung".
Popcorn fanatic Wayne Watson ate about two bags daily, but now he has quit because of the havoc it reeked on his lungs.
Watson had all the symptoms of a rare disease dubbed "popcorn lung," which derives its name because it was found in popcorn plant workers exposed to a flavoring ingredient called diacetyl. Diacetyl is a natural substance heated in a factory setting to give microwave popcorn its buttery taste.
Hundreds of workers have said they have lung disease from working in these conditions and have launched lawsuits against companies that produce or use the butter flavouring.
Instead of taking on popcorn makers like the workers have done, Watson is suing the store that sold him his daily fix. Watson's lawyer, Kenneth McClain, said the lawsuit filed in a US district court names The Kroger Company, grocery store King Soopers' parent company Dillon Companies Inc, and food distributor Inter-American Products Inc.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, states that the companies "failed to warn that preparing microwave popcorn in a microwave oven as intended and smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard and a risk of lung injury".
Diacetyl is a naturally occurring chemical compound that gives butter its flavour. It has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
After workers became ill, new workplace standards were developed that isolated microwaves from workers testing popcorn bags coming off the manufacturing line. [...]
Last month, the United States' four biggest makers of microwave popcorn announced they were reformulating their recipes to remove the chemical from nearly all their products.
Just grab a handful of organic kernels, throw them in a hot-air popper, or a big pot with a tight-fitting lid (with a little veg oil) and heat until popped. Garnish with a little melted butter, olive or vegetable-based oil, maybe even a pinch of salt, and enjoy!
Tasty, organic, and no chance of lung disease = delicious!