What is Diacetyl?
Diacetyl is an artificial butter-flavoring that can be found in:
• Fruit drinks; and
• Some dairy products
Although the FDA considers Diacetyl “generally safe to eat,” it is dangerous when inhaled. How do we know that? In 2000, a doctor recognized that eight microwave popcorn factory workers had developed a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. Four of the eight workers were so ill that they were placed on lung transplant lists. Researchers ultimately determined that their bronchiolitis obliterans was caused by vapor from the butter flavoring that was added to the popcorn. That butter flavoring, which was inhaled by the factory workers, was Diacetyl and the term “popcorn lung” was born.
Diacetyl is a highly toxic chemical compound that is dangerous not only to factory workers but also consumers. Popcorn lung has been diagnosed in individuals working in various fields including animal feed plants, bakeries, candy factories and e-cigarettes to name a few.
Diacetyl is a man-made chemical compound but can also naturally occur in some food or food processes. The flavoring mimics the taste and smell of butter and is often added to flavors such as vanilla, maple and coconut to name a few. Even a product that is labeled as “naturally flavored” can still contain diacetyl. Currently there is no requirement that a company disclose that their product contains diacetyl.
What is Bronchiolitis Obliterans:
Bronchiolitis obliterans is a serious and irreversible lung condition that obstructs the smallest airways of the lungs and is caused by prolonged exposures to Diacetyl. The Diacetyl irritates the tiny air passages which leads to scarring. That scarring narrows the passages making it difficult for you to get enough air. The lung scarring is irreversible and there is no cure. As symptoms progress, the lung damage becomes more severe, so early detection is key to reducing symptoms and limiting further lung damage.
Bronchiolitis Obliterans can be mistaken for other respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD or pneumonia. However, conventional treatment for those respiratory conditions will generally be ineffective in reducing the symptoms caused by bronchiolitis obliterans.
Symptoms of Diacetyl Exposure:
• Dry cough
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty breathing deeply
• Rapid breathing
• Irritation to eyes, nose and throat
• Skin irritation and rash
These symptoms generally get worse within weeks to months.
- Pain in legs or arms
- Wound secretion
E-Cigarettes and Vaping:
Once the dangers associated with Diacetyl were discovered, most popcorn producers stopped using it, but e-cigarettes continue to utilize Diacetyl. Researchers at Harvard found that 39 of 51 e-cigarette brands contain diacetyl which is being directly inhaled by consumers. This is especially concerning when you consider the skyrocketing popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping with teenagers and young adults.
If you believe you have suffered an injury due to Diacetyl, discuss your symptoms with an attorney. Lawsuits are often the only way for people to hold companies accountable. The injury attorneys at Anapol Weiss will fight on your behalf for fair compensation. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.