Colorado man awarded $7.2 million for eating popcorn

FRESNO, California

Wayne Watson admits he munched microwave popcorn a couple of times a day for years, until his doctor diagnosed him with a rare disease called popcorn lung.

It's usually found in plant workers exposed to high levels of Diacetyl an artificial flavoring used to give popcorn that buttery taste. Watson sued the popcorn maker and the supermarket that sold it -- claiming the companies never warned consumers that Diacetyl was dangerous.

"They thought that no consumer would ever be exposed to enough of it to make a difference," Wayne Watson said. "Well they rolled the dice and they lost."

On Wednesday, Watson, who's lost about 50% of his lung capacity was awarded damages totaling $7.2 million.

Many popcorn manufacturers no longer use Diacetyl in their microwave products.

Glister-Mary Lee, the popcorn maker in this case, issued a statement after the decision noting it has provided "safe, quality microwave popcorn to consumers for two decades."

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.