Diacetyl, one of the most common flavorings in e-cigarettes and vaping liquids, is associated with severe lung disease that can cause disability or death.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting diacetyl induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with lung disease caused by vaping e-cigarettes, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Diacetyl is a chemical used to create a buttery or creamy flavor. It occurs naturally, but is also manufactured on an industrial scale to artificially enhance the flavors of many foods and e-cigarettes or vaping liquids.
Over 7,000 types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids are on the market, and recent studies have found most of them contain diacetyl or similar chemicals like 2,3-Pentanedione and acetoin. When these chemicals are heated, vaporized, and inhaled, microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.
What is the problem?
Diacetyl is safe to eat and drink in food, but inhaling it is a risk-factor for severe lung diseases, such as:
- Popcorn Lung
- Bronchiolitis obliterans
- Fixed airway obstruction
- Chronic bronchitis
- Diseases of the small airway
Diacetyl and Bronchiolitis Obliterans
Bronchiolitis obliterans — also known as “Popcorn Lung” — got its nickname after sickening nearly 200 workers at microwave popcorn factories. OSHA investigators blamed the illnesses on diacetyl in butter-flavoring and issued a hazard communication.
Symptoms of “Popcorn Lung”
Dry cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath on exertion are the characteristic symptoms of “Popcorn Lung.” Symptoms typically appear gradually and slowly worsen over time, though severe symptoms can also appear suddenly. Workers at popcorn factories have been diagnosed with it after less than two years on the job.
Diacetyl Exposure Limits
In August 2011, a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) set the daily exposure limit for diacetyl at 65 μg/day. The limit for 2,3-Pentanedione was set at 137 μg/day (1 μg = 1 millionth of a gram).
Coffee Worker’s Lung Disease
Diacetyl is created naturally when a green coffee bean is roasted. Drinking coffee is safe, but breathing roasting fumes every day can lead to coffee workers’ lung disease. Workers in coffee roasting, grinding, or flavoring factories can develop bronchiolitis obliterans after just a few months of working in a facility without good air-ventilation. Areas where roasted beans are stored in hoppers for off-gassing are also a potential hazard.
E-Cigarette Liquids Often Contain Toxic Level of Diacetyl
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health published an analysis of 51 types sweet-flavored e-cigarettes. Diacetyl was found in 39 (76%) of products in concentrations up to 239 μg — nearly 4-times the NIOSH exposure limit.
In June 2014, another study analyzed 159 flavored e-cigarettes. Nearly 50% of them contained more diacetyl than NIOSH exposure limits, with amounts ranging up to 278 μg per day. Diacetyl or 2,3-Pentanedione was found in 74% of products that were tested.
$100 Million Awarded in Diacetyl Lawsuits
The first lawsuits involving diacetyl-induced “Popcorn Lung” were filed in 2001 by dozens of workers at a popcorn factory in Missouri. Over the next six years, over $100 million was awarded through settlements and jury verdicts. In 2012, a man who developed lung disease after eating several bags of microwave popcorn per day was awarded awarded $7.2 million.
Class Actions Filed Against Vape Liquid Manufacturers
E-cigarette manufacturers are also facing several class action lawsuits — including Five Pawns and Cuttwood. The manufacturers are accused of negligence for selling vaping liquids that contain massive amounts of diacetyl and failing to warn users about the risk of lung disease.
Do I have a Diacetyl Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting diacetyl induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with lung disease caused by vaping, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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