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Diacetyl Bronchiolitis Obliterans Lawsuit

Diacetyl exposure in the workplace can lead to a rare and life-threatening lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans that can be caused by the inhalation of diacetyl or 2,3 pentanedione, chemicals used for flavoring food products. If you develop lung disease after working in a factor setting, you may be eligible for compensation through a Diacetyl Exposure Lawsuit.

Those who work with flavoring chemicals such as in the following may be at risk for a diacetyl exposure lawsuit:

  • Snack food plants
  • Dairy plants
  • Confection plants
  • Coffee roasting plants
  • Pet food plants
  • Refrigerated dough plants

Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options with an experienced toxic exposure attorney.

What is Bronchiolitis Obliterans?

Bronchiolitis Obliterans, sometimes called popcorn lung, is a rare and life-threatening lung disease that can be caused by inhalation of diacetyl or 2,3 pentanedione, chemicals used for flavoring food products. Since the irreversible lung disease commonly occurs among workers exposed to the chemicals when used for butter flavor in microwave popcorn production, it is often referred to as popcorn lung or popcorn workers lung. However, these flavoring chemicals are also used in snack food plants, dairy plants, confection plants, coffee roasting, pet food plants, and refrigerated dough plants.

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If you developed lung disease after exposure to diacetyl, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options with an experienced toxic exposure attorney.

Diacetyl Exposure Illness: Symptoms of Bronchiolitis Obliterans

Also known as obliterative bronchiolitis or constrictive bronchiolitis, bronchiolitis obliterans is a lung disease that can cause a number of serious symptoms. People affected by the toxicity of this chemical have developed shortness of breath, hardening of the lung tissue, and other serious respiratory symptoms. The damage cannot be reversed. The most serious cases of bronchiolitis obliterans are life-threatening and require individuals to undergo a lung transplant. The first symptoms typically noticed by a person suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans are chronic shortness of breath with exertion, coughing and wheezing.

Symptoms include:

  • Scarring and hardening of lung tissue
  • Cough (usually without phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Skin peeling
  • Eye, nose, throat and skin irritation

Unfortunately, this disease is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or emphysema, because some of the symptoms, such as a dry cough, phlegm production, and shortness of breath, are very similar.

Lung disease can be hard to diagnose, even for experienced pulmonologists. Even doctors experienced in treating occupational diseases can miss bronchiolitis obliterans. If you believe you have been exposed to diacetyl in your workplace, let your doctor know so your lung function can be tested. Early detection is critical.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, contact us to schedule a free appointment with a qualified member of our team.

What Is Diacetyl?

Diacetyl is both a man-made chemical compound and something that occurs naturally in certain foods or food processes. It is a highly toxic chemical compound that is very dangerous to not only people who work with it but also to consumers. Diacetyl exposure can cause permanent, severe, and potentially lethal lung disease in workers and consumers. Despite this, many people continue to work with diacetyl and are not told of the steps they need to take to protect themselves. Also, consumers could be breathing diacetyl vapors and risking their health by using products containing diacetyl.

Diacetyl vapors enter the lungs, setting off an autoimmune chain reaction in the lung tissue of the small airways. If you picture your windpipe as a tree trunk, the small airways, or bronchioles, are the smallest end of the smallest branches, furthest away from the trunk. This is where oxygen goes into your bloodstream and CO2 comes out. The tissue in the bronchioles becomes fibrotic, essentially turning to scar tissue. The tissue stops working like it should, and less and less oxygen is able to get from the lungs into the bloodstream where the body can use it. Once this scarring process has happened, it is irreversible – the tissue never returns to normal.

Diacetyl exposure has lead to this disease being found in people working in coffee roasting plants, animal feed plants, bakeries, candy factories, flavoring manufacturing plants, and in everyday consumers. Most people do not know that they are exposing themselves to diacetyl. Because it is oftentimes actively hidden by the industry, consumers are deprived of the ability to make an informed decision about the products they are using, and our health and the health of workers is left to profit-motivated corporations.

Diacetyl Health Hazard Warning

The National Institute for Occupational and Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione of 5ppb (parts per billion) expressed as a time-weighted average over an eight-hour workday and 40-hour workweek. NIOSH has also recommended a STEL or “Short Term Exposure Limit” of 25ppb for 15 minutes based on the concern that peak exposures may have greater toxicity. These recommendations have not yet been adopted and currently, no federal regulations are in place to protect workers from dangerous exposures to diacetyl or 2,3 pentanedione.

Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3 Pentanedione. – NIOSH

Do I have a Bronchiolitis Obliterans Lawsuit?

Diacetyl exposure related to food flavoring has spawned hundreds of lawsuits by plant workers. The widespread use of diacetyl in the food industry as an ingredient in snacks, beverages, baked goods, and a variety of other edibles, and the chemical’s association with bronchiolitis obliterans has led some commentators to suggest that diacetyl could be the “new asbestos.”

A breathing test known as spirometry, combined with a history of exposure to food flavoring, is used to gauge diacetyl exposure and to diagnose bronchiolitis obliterans. A high-resolution CT scan of the lungs can sometimes reveal characteristic changes of bronchiolitis obliterans, however, the scan can also appear normal in persons suffering from the disease.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

The Bronchiolitis Obliterans lawyers at The Carlson Law Firm are reviewing potential lawsuits for factory workers who have been diagnosed with this life-threatening lung disease all across the United States.

Previous lawsuits filed by factory workers have resulted in several multi-million dollar jury awards against manufacturers who failed to warn about the risk of exposure.

To find out if you or a loved one qualifies, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. There are no fees or expenses to hire our attorneys. We pursue all claims on a contingency fee basis, which means that we won’t get paid unless we secure a recovery for you.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.

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