Anytime a worker is exposed to chemical fumes, dust, asbestos or other deleterious substance, there is a chance that they may develop some type of lung disease even years after leaving the job. If this occurs, it may be covered by workers compensation.
The latest problem is with the makers of Artifical Butter Flavor. Their has been an outbreak of severe lung disease caused by exposure to diacetyl, the chemical that makes food taste like artificial butter flavor. According to the California Department of Health Services, there are now eight known cases of severe obstructive lung disease among workers exposed to diacetyl, with three more reported cases under investigation.
As an ongoing health investigation of California’s flavor manufacturing industry grows, there has been another six workers who have lost nearly all use of their lungs.
The six are in addition to two cases that sparked the investigation nine months ago, according to the state’s occupational health chief, Barbara Materna.
“Most of these workers are severely impaired, cannot work and suffer extreme shortness of breath on exertion,” Materna wrote in a Jan. 11 report updating investigation results. “At least one is reported to be on a list for lung transplantation.”
Very often these problems could be avoided with proper training, proper warning and by issuing proper protective gear. Workers who suffer lung disease have rights and should consult with an attorney experienced in obtaining benefits for these types of injuries.