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Coffee Plant Worker Lung Disease

In many coffee roasting plants, a flavoring chemical called diacetyl is used as part of coffee production. OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have both indicated that exposure to diacetyl (also called butanedione, butane-2,3-dione, biacetyl, dimethyl diketone or 2,3-diketobutane) can be hazardous to health, especially when heated and inhaled.

If you believe you have developed lung or respiratory disease related to work in a coffee roasting plant, contact the product liability lawyers at Roberts & Roberts today for a free consultation. Call us now at 903-597-6000 or fill out our online contact form. The call costs you nothing… It could mean everything.

Coffee Workers at Risk

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicates that flavorings can be harmful if inhaled. Coffee flavorings, particularly those containing diacetyl, pose serious health risks. Diacetyl has been linked to a serious and rare lung condition called bronchiolitis obliterans or obliterative bronchiolitis.

The lung condition linked to diacetyl is commonly called “popcorn lung,” and it is best known for affecting workers in popcorn plants, since the artificial flavoring chemical is used to give the buttery taste to microwave popcorn.

As a result of the lawsuits and OSHA regulations, many popcorn manufacturers have now discontinued the use of diacetyl. Many workers in the coffee industry, however, are still exposed to diacetyl. This creates a huge risk for workers in coffee plants who breathe in this dangerous artificial flavoring chemical.

The Effects of Popcorn Lung

Popcorn lung, or bronchiolitis obliterans, is a form of lung disease that restricts breathing. The lung’s small airways, called the bronchioles, become inflamed and scar tissue called fibrosis begins to build up. This results in a narrowing of the small airways, obstructing or partially obliterating the airways and making it difficult to breathe.

Symptoms can begin gradually and worsen over time or can come on suddenly. Either way, the condition is not reversible. Those who are afflicted with popcorn lung may suffer from a dry cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Unfortunately, the condition can be life-threatening, and a lung transplant may be required in severe cases.

These symptoms can significantly impact a worker’s quality of life. They may make it impossible for a victim to work or even to perform routine daily activities. The medical treatment associated with the condition can also be very costly, especially if a lung transplant is required.

Talk to Our Coffee Roasting Lung Disease Lawyers Today

Workers who get sick from exposure to diacetyl or other toxins in flavorings as part of their job in a coffee production plant could have a number of legal options. The personal injury attorneys at Roberts & Roberts represent workers who have developed lung problems related to working in coffee roasting plants.

To learn more about your potential recovery for popcorn lung or exposure to toxins in flavorings at a coffee plant, contact Roberts & Roberts today. Call us now at 903-597-6000 or contact us online.

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