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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

What are Occupational Illnesses?

Occupational hazards extend beyond immediate injuries to workers and can include illnesses that can affect a person’s ability to work – sometimes for the rest of his or her life. Occupational illnesses can disable a person for life, and sometimes even kill them. One such illness is popcorn lung, a disease that can inflame the lungs and cause permanent breathing problems.

What is Popcorn Lung?

Popcorn lung gets its name from an acquired illness that inflicts food flavoring plant workers. The disease, which causes scarring and constricted airways, is capable of causing wheezing, shortness of breath and a mild to severe cough. Unfortunately, popcorn lung has shown resiliency to treatment, and many who suffer from it will be unable to alleviate symptoms.

Who is Affected by Popcorn Lung?

Early last week, a jury awarded a man $2.6 million against his employer, Citrus and Allied Essences Ltd., because he had developed popcorn lung after exposure to the chemical diacetyl, a common food flavoring. According to the suit, the man’s employer had failed to warn workers of the dangers of inhaling diacetyl vapors.

Similar lawsuits have been brought against microwave popcorn and butter flavoring companies after their workers developed the untreatable condition.

What Options Do I Have If I Have Contracted an Occupational Illness?

Popcorn lung is one of many illnesses that workers can develop because of their occupation. Workers have also developed illnesses such as leukemia, asbestos-related cancers and pesticide poisoning. Most recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a warning concerning fracking workers inhaling silica and developing silicosis, an extremely debilitating lung disease.

Fortunately, workers have the option of pursuing a workers’ compensation or disability claim if they have contracted occupational illnesses. Larrimer & Larrimer offers free consultations to help injured workers find the best way forward to secure the benefits they deserve.

Larrimer & Larrimer – Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys

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