Workers in the manufacturing industry often face a unique set of on-the-job risks. Countless different chemicals and substances are used in the manufacturing process, and the health dangers of these substances are not always fully understood. Sometimes, the health risks associated with certain substances are only known when workers start experiencing medical problems. This was the case with “popcorn lung,” a chronic lung disease that was first discovered in the lungs of popcorn plant workers.
Popcorn lung, which is technically called “bronchiolitis obliterans,” does not only affect those in the food manufacturing industry. Anyone who is consistently exposed to harmful airborne chemicals can develop the disease. Workers who develop bronchiolitis obliterans may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and recover financial compensation.
Toxic Materials Associated with Bronchiolitis Obliterans
Bronchiolitis obliterans is a serious lung condition caused by exposure to certain chemicals in the air. The illness was first reported in workers who had been exposed to diacetyl, a flavoring agent that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. Other chemicals that have been associated with bronchiolitis obliterans include:
- Nitrogen oxides
- Sulfur dioxide
- Fumes from metal oxides
- Hydrochloric acid
- Sulfur mustard
Individuals who work in the food manufacturing industry may be especially susceptible to the illness. However, chemicals associated with popcorn lung are also used in many other industries.
Symptoms of Popcorn Lung
Bronchiolitis obliterans or popcorn lung leads to inflammation and damage of the bronchioles. Symptoms of the illness include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, sweating, and skin rash. Unfortunately, some sufferers are misdiagnosed with asthma or other respiratory diseases. If you have symptoms of popcorn lung after exposure to toxic substances, get medical attention right away. CT scans, chest X-rays, lung function tests, bronchoscopies, lung biopsies, and other tests may be needed to diagnose popcorn lung.
If you are diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, you may be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills and lost income through a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact a Springfield Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers who are exposed to certain airborne chemicals can develop a serious lung condition called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung.” If you or a loved one were exposed to harmful chemicals at work and have now been diagnosed with this condition, contact Kanoski Bresney to discuss your legal options. You may be able to get financial reimbursement for your medical expenses and lost wages. Call our Decatur occupational disease attorneys at 888-826-8682 for a free consultation today.