Popcorn Lung Disease

If you have been diagnosed with Popcorn Lung Disease as a result of being exposed to diacetyl fumes, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Call us immediately at 1-866-222-9990 to speak with our experienced Popcorn Lung Attorneys.

Popcorn Lung Disease (bronchiolitis obliterans) is a rare lung disease that occurs in popcorn factory workers and heavy microwave popcorn consumers. Continual exposure to diacetyl found in microwave popcorn can give you lung disease.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Popcorn Lung Disease is a chronic, sometimes fatal lung condition that scars and inflames the smallest airways in the lungs. This prevents air from circulating in the lungs and makes it hard for the patient to breathe.

Symptoms of Popcorn Lung Disease do not always improve after the patient stops working with diacetyl or goes on vacation: the damage is permanent. Symptoms often include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing

Popcorn Lung Disease can be easily confused with asthma, but the disease does not respond to asthma medication. In many cases, Popcorn Lung Disease is diagnosed after the patient’s symptoms show no response to asthma medications.

Once asthma has been eliminated as the cause of a patient’s symptoms, tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and biopsies can be used to identify blockage in the small airways and make a diagnosis.


Popcorn lung disease is sometimes treated with steroids, but they have not been proven to be effective. Popcorn Lung Disease can be fatal, and in severe cases a lung transplant is the only hope a patient has for survival. Doctors do not yet know how to reverse the disease.

What Causes Popcorn Lung Disease?

  • Popcorn Lung Disease is caused by breathing diacetyl fumes.
  • Diacetyl is a chemical used to mimic the flavor of butter in artificial butter flavoring. In butter, diacetyl occurs naturally in small amounts. It is one of the flavors that gives butter its unique taste, and it is included in artificial butter flavoring as a result.
  • Eating diacetyl does not pose a health risk: it is a normal component of butter. However, breathing diacetyl fumes can cause permanent, incurable lung damage. Inhaling diacetyl fumes has also been proven to cause severe airway injury to animals.

Exposure to Diacetyl Fumes

Popcorn Lung is a rare disease most often reported in popcorn factory workers who breathed diacetyl fumes every day for a long time, usually over a year. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers in popcorn factories wear masks to protect them from inhaling diacetyl fumes.

Risk to Microwave Popcorn Consumers

Although most Popcorn Lung Disease cases occur in factory workers, heavy microwave popcorn consumers have developed the disease due to inhaling the buttery smell from freshly popped popcorn. Diacetyl fumes are part of that delicious buttery aroma, and breathing in the diacetyl fumes from large quantities of popcorn over a period of years can cause Popcorn Lung Disease.Due to the health risks of diacetyl fumes, popcorn companies are phasing out the use of diacetyl in their products. However, for consumers that have already been exposed, it is too little too late.

If you have been exposed to diacetyl fumes from popcorn and you have Popcorn Lung Disease, you have rights. No consumer expected microwave popcorn to cause lung disease. Companies have the duty to make sure their products are safe, and microwave companies have failed in that duty. Popcorn companies need to be held responsible for their negligence.

Help for Popcorn Lung Disease Patients

If your favorite food has turned against you and given you Popcorn Lung Disease, you have rights. Microwave popcorn companies permanently damaged your health with no warning. No consumer could have predicted the possibility of getting Popcorn Lung Disease from a popular snack.