Sensient Resolves Popcorn Lung Lawsuit
Sensient Flavors LLC agreed to pay a smaller fine to resolve a lawsuit over its use of diacetyl, a chemical that could cause an incurable lung disease. The company also promised to reduce the quantity of the chemical it uses at its Indianapolis plant by 20 percent.
According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the settlement will lay to rest a federal lawsuit that Sensient brought against the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) over their intense scrutiny of possible workplace exposure to diacetyl at the plant.
In its lawsuit, Sensient claimed to have been “harassed and intimidated” and “subjected to enormous intrusions” by IOSHA and NIOSH. The company had also named three NIOSH employees and two IOSHA compliance officers as defendants.
Originally, the dispute arose from the fact that the company used diacetyl, a chemical that gives a buttery taste to popcorn, margarine, and other products. The use of diacetyl has been hotly contested as some studies have associated it with the risk of developing a rare, life- threatening, and incurable lung condition called “popcorn lung.”
Some popcorn factory and flavoring workers have developed the disease following prolonged exposure to diacetyl.
Under the settlement, Sensient will pay $99,000 in fines instead of $323,500, reports the Business Journal. It will also not only reduce the quantity of diacetyl at the plant but it will also substitute a safer alternative, wherever possible.
If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to a harmful chemical exposure, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation and to find out if a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you.