Bronchiolitis Obliterans is a disease that affects an individual’s lungs, causing damage to the lung’s small airways making it difficult to breathe and inducing chronic coughing. The disease is more commonly known as “popcorn lung.” 

This is because of the increased likelihood of contracting it those who have been exposed to the diacetyl—a common artificial flavoring found in microwave popcorn—have. 

However, it should be noted that according to the FDA, diacetyl is safe to consume. The problem comes from breathing it in. What’s more, is that the artificial flavoring chemical is not only found in microwave popcorn. Additional products that contain it include:

  • Fruity drinks
  • A variety of dairy products
  • E-cigarettes

While the top two items on this list are fairly safe to consume because the diacetyl is ingested, e-cigarettes could pose a problem as the chemical is more likely to be breathed in. 

Symptoms of Popcorn Lung

Diacetyl was found to cause this type of lung disease years ago when workers in microwave popcorn factories who were repeatedly exposed to the chemical started experiencing health problems. While shortness of breath and coughing might not sound serious, left untreated, popcorn lung can be deadly.

Symptoms can reveal themselves anywhere from two weeks to two months after exposure. Severity can also range from mild discomfort to debilitating and even death. If you have been exposed to this dangerous chemical and are experiencing symptoms, it is advised you seek medical attention immediately.

How Popcorn Lung is Diagnosed

Popcorn lung can only be properly diagnosed by a licensed physician. After hearing of your symptoms your doctor might order several x-rays to determine what is wrong with your lungs. He or she might also conduct several tests to see how your lungs are functioning.

However, the best, albeit most invasive way to diagnose popcorn lung is via a biopsy. By being able to more closely examine a piece of your lung, a doctor will be able to tell whether or not you have the disease and how severe your case is.

Treating Popcorn Lung

Unfortunately, there is no cure for popcorn lung. Because of this early deduction is vital to keeping the disease from progressing. Some ways popcorn lung is treated include:

  • Staying away from diacetyl and other chemicals that can cause popcorn lung
  • Taking antibiotics to reduce swelling in your lung’s airways
  • Over the counter drugs to fight against coughing and make breathing easier

As you can see, treating severe cases of popcorn lung can radically alter your life. It might mean you will have to take medication for the rest of your life.

Because of the danger and burden of contracting popcorn lung, you may want to consider taking legal action against the companies that have used diacetyl or another dangerous chemical in their products. Over the last decade or so, numerous individuals have brought lawsuits against such companies with much success. One man even secured a multimillion-dollar verdict.

And while many microwave popcorn makers have found safer ways to flavor their product, e-cigarette companies are now putting their customers at risk by putting diacetyl in their e-cigarettes.

Either way, if you contract popcorn lung, there is legal action you can take. In consultation with a qualified personal injury lawyer, you can potentially file a product liability lawsuit or even recover workers’ compensation benefits. A skilled lawyer will already know a great deal about this area of the law and be able to advise you on your chances of success and possible next steps.

Your lawyer will examine your case, investigate your exposure and medical records, and communicate with the company and their insurance provider. You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of a company’s recklessness on your own. Contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer to work with you as you seek to obtain the compensation you deserve.