Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare respiratory disease that has been linked to the exposure and inhalation of diacetyl -- a chemical used to flavor microwave popcorn and electronic cigarettes or "vapes."
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung) after using e-cigarettes or vaping, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: Vaping Affects Lungs Immediately, Study Finds
April 26, 2016 - Although electronic cigarettes or "vapes" are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional smokes, new research presented at the 2016 CHEST World Congress has found that the devices have an immediate effect on pulmonary function. For the study, researchers looked at 54 young cigarette and e-cigarette smokers, 27 of whom had mild controlled asthma. After using e-cigs, airway obstruction and inflammation measurements were worse in both groups but were more severe in asthmatics.
What's the Problem?
Despite being marketed as a healthy alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, many electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, or vapes) have been found to contain a flavoring chemical called diacetyl which has been linked to an irreversible lung disease called bronchitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung. With e-cigarettes booming in popularity, scientists are concerned that these devices may pose a significant health threat to vapers.
Harvard Study Finds Diacetyl in E-Cigarettes, Vape Juice
There are currently about 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and vape juices on the U.S. market. According to Science Alert, it would be nearly impossible to study each brand and flavor. Instead, Joseph Allen, an exposure assessment expert at Harvard University, selected 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes in 9 different brands. Each product was inserted into a sealed chamber attached to a device that drew air through the vape for 8 seconds at a time. The study revealed that diacetyl was present in 39% of the flavors tested. The researchers found 2 other flavoring chemicals – pentanedione and acetoin – in other flavors. In total, at least one of the 3 compounds was detected in 47 of the 51 flavors tested.
“Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans, and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes,” the study's authors concluded.
What is Bronchiolitis Obliterans?
Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare and irreversible lung disease that affects individuals who inhale or are exposed to the chemical diacetyl.
In bronchiolitis, obliterans, inflammation and scarring occur in the smallest airways of the lung and can lead to severe and disabling shortness of breath.
Bronchiolitis obliterans is the formal name; however, it is also referred to as Popcorn Workers’ Lung or Popcorn Lung Disease because it has been found in employees of microwave popcorn plants and within the butter flavorings industry.
Symptoms of Bronchiolitis Obliterans
Usually, the symptoms of bronchiolitis obliterans are gradual in onset and progressive, but severe symptoms can occur suddenly. The symptoms are as follows:
- Scarring and hardening of lung tissue
- Cough (usually without phlegm)
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Skin peeling
- Eye, nose, throat and skin irritation
Misdiagnosis Alert - Asthma, Bronchitis, Pneumonia & Emphysema
Unfortunately, bronchiolitis obliterans are frequently misdiagnosed by physicians as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or emphysema. If you smoke e-cigarettes or vapes and have been diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or emphysema, you may still have a case.
Diacetyl Exposure Linked to Bronchitis Obliterans in Popcorn Factory Workers
In August 2000, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services requested technical assistance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in an investigation of bronchiolitis obliterans in former workers of a microwave popcorn plant in Jasper, Missouri.
Since the original NIOSH bronchiolitis obliterans investigation, there has been a nationwide outbreak of cases occurring within the microwave popcorn industry and other flavor and extract industries.
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Do I Have a Bronchiolitis Obliterans Lawsuit?
The Toxic Tort Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in bronchiolitis obliterans lawsuits. We are handling individual and group litigation nationwide and are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung) after using e-cigs or vapes, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a class action suit and our lawyers can help.