Illinois Company Involved in $7 M Popcorn Lung Lawsuit

Man diagnosed with "popcorn lung," possibly from inhaling the artificial butter smell of microwave popcorn

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    A suburban Denver man who was diagnosed with "popcorn lung," possibly from inhaling the artificial butter smell of the microwave popcorn he regularly ate, has won a $7.2 million verdict against various food companies.

    Wayne Watson's attorney, Ken McClain, said a federal jury granted the award Wednesday against Illinois company Gilster-Mary Lee Corp., The Kroger Co. and Dillon Companies Inc. after he developed respiratory problems in 2007.

    Watson previously settled claims against the flavor developer FONA International Inc., formerly Flavors of North America Inc.

    Watson argued the companies failed to warn consumers that inhaling the buttery aroma could put them at risk of lung injury.

    KCNC-TV in Denver reports defense attorneys had argued Watson's health problems stemmed not from popcorn but from his years of working with carpet-cleaning chemicals.