Wayne Watson has won a $7.2 million damage award against Glister-Mary Lee Corp. after a jury found that his inhaling of fumes from bags of microwave popcorn had caused irreversible obstructive lung disease.
An avid consumer of popcorn, Watson said he ate two microwaved bags of the snack every day until he became sick in 2007, ABC News noted.
The lawsuit is one of a number of legal actions against popcorn producers claiming lung damage — known as “popcorn lung” — as a result of inhaling diacetyl, a chemical formerly used to enhance popcorn flavor that has been linked to lung problems. Manufacturers stopped using it in 2007 as health concerns mounted.
People suffering with “popcorn lung” have difficulty breathing. Watson claims he only has 53% of lung capacity left.
Attorneys for Glister-Mary Lee had contended that Waton’s lung problems were caused by a career spent as a carpet cleaner.
But the jury thought otherwise, finding the popcorn company and Kroger (NYSE:KR), the supermarket where Watson purchased the microwave popcorn, responsible for his injuries.
While “popcorn lung” has been mostly claimed by popcorn factory workers, Watson’s is one of several consumer suits over lung damage from microwaved popcorn in recent years.