Colorado man awarded $8.8m in "popcorn lung" lawsuit
DENVER (REUTERS) - A United States (US) federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a Colorado man US$7.2 million (S$8.8 million) in damages for developing a chronic condition known as popcorn lung from a chemical used in flavouring microwave popcorn.
Jurors agreed with the claims by Mr Wayne Watson, 59, that the popcorn manufacturer and the supermarket chain that sold it were negligent by failing to warn on labels that the butter flavoring, diacetyl, was dangerous.
The condition is a form of obstructive lung disease that makes it difficult for air to flow out of the lungs and is irreversible, according to WebMd.
Mr Watson, of suburban Denver, was the first consumer of microwave popcorn diagnosed with the disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, his attorney Kenneth McClain said. Mr Watson was diagnosed in 2007 at Denver's National Jewish Health, a respiratory health center, after years of inhaling the smell of artificial butter on the popcorn he said he ate daily.