It was reported in the Joplin Globe today that a jury in the Chicago area has awarded a $30 million verdict to a worker who was exposed to Diacetyl and developed Bronchiolitis Obliterans (also known as Popcorn Lung). This is an irreversible lung disease which can lead to an organ transplant in extreme cases. Prometrix Consulting, with a staff of former OSHA officials, is offering expert consulting and training services to help employers comply with complex workplace safety and health requirements.
Prometrix has developed a unique expertise in managing Diacetyl / Popcorn Lung risk for food flavoring companies. To learn more about the topic, please read our blog posts on the topic here on prometrixinc.com. It’s important that employers facing this issue get up to speed on how to minimize their risk and protect their workers. OSHA is currently conducting a National Emphasis Program that is targeting Food Flavoring Containing Diacetyl as well as working on new standard to address the issue.
Illinois worker wins $30 million verdict in diacetyl popcorn chemical lawsuit
Source: Joplin Globe
CHICAGO — A jury in Chicago has awarded a $30.4 million verdict to a chemical-flavoring plant worker disabled by exposure to diacetyl, an ingredient in butter flavoring used at a Jasper popcorn plant where several workers claimed similar injury.
The verdict awarded to Gerardo Solis, 45, and against BASF Corp., a supplier of diacetyl and the world’s largest chemical company, is the highest rendered to date in popcorn and butter-flavoring worker lawsuits in the U.S., according to Ken McClain, the attorney for Solis.
Solis worked at a Flavorchem Corp. plant in the Chicago area between the years 1998 and 2006 when he was diagnosed with a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. McClain said Solis is totally disabled with 25 percent of normal lung capacity and is projected to require a lung transplant within the next 10 years.
The largest verdict previously awarded to an individual in the cases was $20 million granted by a Jasper County jury to Eric Peoples of Carthage and his wife in 2004. Two $15 million verdicts and a $2.7 million award were rendered to other workers at the former Jasper Popcorn Co. plant. Those cases involved Bush Boake Allen Inc. and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., suppliers of butter flavoring to the plant and not BASF.