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N.Y. Woman Alleges Butter Flavoring Chemical In Microwave Popcorn Caused Serious Lung Injury

NEW YORK — Wendy R. Fleishmann and Elizabeth Alexander of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Ken McClain of the Kansas City, Mo., law firm Humphrey Farrington and McClain P.C. announced May 6 that Agnes Mercado of Queens County, N.Y., has filed a personal injury lawsuit against ConAgra Foods Inc., Givaudan Flavors Corp. and numerous diacetyl manufacturers.

In April, Mercado was diagnosed with a severe lung disease that she claims is the result of exposure to ConAgra’s microwave popcorn, which contained butter flavorings with added diacetyl. She says the disease is associated with inhaling butter flavoring vapors and has been identified as bronchiolitis obliterans — literally, an obliteration of the lung's airways. Breathing tests can identify difficulty in moving air in and out of the lungs, called lung obstruction. In the case of bronchiolitis obliterans, that obstruction is "fixed," meaning it doesn't respond to normal asthma medications, she says.

The lawsuit charges that Mercado sustained a severe lung disease after consuming microwave popcorn containing the butter flavoring chemical diacetyl. The chemical is used for the aroma and taste in butter, some cheeses and snack and bakery products.

The complaint further alleges that exposure to butter flavoring containing added diacetyl may cause other health problems, including asthma, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructed bronchitis, pulmonary disease, emphysema, lung impairment and several others.

Lieff Cabraser represents persons across America injured by the chemical diacetyl. It is a 60-plus attorney law firm with offices in New York, San Francisco and Nashville, Tenn.  For more information, visit