Man Awarded $7.2 Million for Disease Caused By Microwave Popcorn Fumes
A federal jury yesterday (September 19th) awarded a 59-year-old Colorado man $7.2 million in damages for developing a chronic obstructive disease known as "popcorn lung" from inhaling a chemical used to flavor microwave popcorn. Wayne Watson charged that the popcorn manufacturer and the supermarket chain that sold it were negligent for not warning on labels that the butter flavor chemical is dangerous. Watson was diagnosed in 2007 after years of eating two to three bags of microwave popcorn a day, purposely inhaling the buttery-smelling steam after he opened the bags. He was the first popcorn consumer diagnosed with the disease, although there had been other legal cases involving people who worked at plants where microwave popcorn was made. Jurors sided with Watson and found the popcorn maker, Gilster-Mary Lee Corp., liable for 80 percent of the $7.2 million damages and supermarket chain King Soopers liable for 20 percent.
What do you think of the jury awarding Watson a whopping $7.2 million?
Do you think the popcorn maker was negligent for not putting a warning label on the microwave popcorn? Was the supermarket negligent for selling it?
Is is justifiable for company to have to guard against something like a customer putting his face in a just-opened bag of microwave popcorn and inhaling the steam two to three times a day for years?
Does hearing about "popcorn lung" make you more wary of buying microwave popcorn or of people in your office making bags of it, with the fumes traveling throughout the workplace?