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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weird news - Man wins jury award for eating too much popcorn

You would keep on reading stories about how some of the ingredients in modern food can cause health problems, about how artificial additives to food can cause issues to the body depending upon the quantity that one is exposed to, and so on. Over a period of time, the food industry has invented a number of items that makes food look better, maybe even taste better and last for longer periods of time. From time to time, these inventions also end up causing problems to a section of consumers, and then there are the cases where people don't know that stuff that they can eat has the potential to cause them to fall ill.
Consider the case where popcorn has been treated with a chemical to make it more buttery and is found in microwave popcorn. People working in popcorn factories are exposed to such chemicals in high enough conditions that it can cause problems, but bet you did not know that. What could you further unease is that a person who ate this popcorn in high enough quantities was also affected and filed a case claiming impact to health and won millions in damages (link to article):

A Denver man has just won $7.2 million in damages from the makers and sellers of his favorite snack — microwave popcorn. Wayne Watson, 59, ate bags of the stuff every day for years, and developed a potentially fatal condition known as "popcorn lung." What is this odd-sounding ailment, and is the company that made the treat really to blame? It's relatively common in people who have been exposed to high levels of diacetyl, an artificial flavoring used to give popcorn a buttery taste. Workers in factories that make microwave popcorn are the ones who usually suffer from it. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone subjected regularly to the chemical wear a respirator and get regular breathing tests. Hundreds of popcorn-factory workers have sued over diacetyl exposure — winning settlements as high as $34 million — but Watson was the first consumer to go to court.

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