Bronchiolitis Obliterans is a rare and life-threatening lung disease that can be caused by the inhalation of diacetyl or 2,3 pentanedione, chemicals used for flavoring food products. These flavoring chemicals are also used in snack food plants, dairy plants, confection plants, coffee roasting plants, pet food plants and refrigerated dough plants. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options with an experienced toxic exposure attorney.
Symptoms of Bronchiolitis Obliterans
Also known as obliterative bronchiolitis or constrictive bronchiolitis, the lung disease 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
- Scarring and hardening of lung tissue
- Cough (usually without phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Skin peeling
- Eye, nose, throat and skin irritation
What Is Diacetyl?
Diacetyl is both a man-made chemical compound and something that occurs naturally in certain foods or food processes.
Diacetyl 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. In the medical community, the disease is referred to as bronchiolitis obliterans, obliterative bronchiolitis or diacetyl-induced bronchiolitis obliterans.
Most people do not know that they are exposing themselves to diacetyl. Because it is often times 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.
Misdiagnosis Alert – Asthma, Bronchitis, Pneumonia & Emphysema
Unfortunately, bronchiolitis obliterans is frequently misdiagnosed by physicians as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or emphysema. If you smoke e-cigarettes or vapes and have been diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or emphysema, you may still have a case.
Lung disease can be hard to diagnose even for experienced pulmonologists. And, even doctors experienced in treating occupational diseases can miss bronchiolitis obliterans. If you believe you have been exposed to diacetyl in your work place, or at home, be sure to let your doctor know so that your lung function can be tested. Early detection is critical.
Diacetyl Exposure 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.
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 gage 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 attorneys 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 qualify, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. There are no fees or expenses to hire our attorneys, all claims are pursued under a contingency fee, which means that we won’t get paid unless we secure a recovery for you.