Man Awarded $7.2 Million for 'Popcorn Lung'
If you thought popcorn was dangerous just because of those hard little things that get stuck between your teeth, think again. A jury has awarded a Colorado man $7.2 million in damages because he developed a chronic condition known as "popcorn lung" from a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its butter flavor, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Wayne Watson, 59, ate microwave popcorn every day for years before developing the obstructive lung disease formally known as bronchiolitis obliterans. The irreversible condition makes it difficult for air to flow out of the lungs. He was diagnosed in 2007 after years of inhaling the smell of artificial butter. The Denver resident was the first consumer of microwave popcorn diagnosed with the disease, his attorney Kenneth McClain said.
Watson sued the Illinois popcorn manufacturer (Gilster-Mary Lee Corp.) and the supermarket chain (King Soopers) that sold it for negligence for failing to warn on labels that the chemical butter flavoring, diacetyl, was dangerous. The jury agreed, finding the manufacturer liable for 80% of the $7,217,961 damages and the supermarket and its parent company, Kroger Co., 20%.