A U.S. federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a Colorado man $7.2 million in damages for developing a chronic condition known as popcorn lung from a chemical used in flavouring microwave popcorn.
Jurors agreed with the claims by Wayne Watson, 59, that the popcorn manufacturer and the supermarket chain that sold it were negligent by failing to warn on labels that the butter flavouring, diacetyl, was dangerous.
The condition is a form of obstructive lung disease that makes it difficult for air to flow out of the lungs and is irreversible.
Watson, of suburban Denver, was the first consumer of microwave pop-corn diagnosed with the disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, his attorney Kenneth McClain said.
Watson was diagnosed in 2007 at Denver's National Jewish Health, a respiratory health centre after years of inhaling the smell of artificial butter on the popcorn he said he ate daily.
Jurors found Gilster-Mary Lee Corp, the Chester, Illinois, privatelabeling manufacturer of the popcorn, liable for 80 per cent of the $7,217,961 damages and the King Soopers supermarket chain and its parent, Kroger Co, liable for 20 percent.
A spokeswoman for King Soopers and Kroger said the companies intended to appeal the decision. Gilster-Mary Lee did not comment.
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