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Plant Worker Awarded In Popcorn Lung Lawsuit

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A Baltimore County Circuit Court has awarded Brian Hallock $814,500 in a lawsuit claiming Hallock contracted  “Popcorn Lung,” a rare lung disease after breathing a chemical used in the plant where he works. The chemical, diacetyl is used to make foods taste buttery.

Last month, Hallock was awarded $5.4 million against diacetyl manufacturer or distributor Polarome International Inc., but the amount was reduced because Maryland caps noneconomic damages at $350,000.

The lawsuit claimed that Hallock was first exposed to diacetyl in 1981 while working as a spice maker at McCormick & Co. He was tested for bronchiolitis obliterans in 2006, where doctors found that he did have the serious disease which has severely depleted his lung capacity.

An attorney in the lawsuit said Hallock’s case comes years after the first cases were discovered at a microwave popcorn plant in Missouri and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health established a link between diacetyl and lung disease. The agency has put out an alert about the chemical and recommendations regarding the use and safe handling are expected soon.

Lawyers for Hallock said they are challenging the cap but wouldn’t comment further about the lawsuit.

 disclaimer: This article: Plant Worker Awarded In Popcorn Lung Lawsuit was posted on Monday, June 6th, 2011 at 8:13 pm at and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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