A New York woman is suing a food giant, claiming she got “popcorn lung” by inhaling vapours from microwaved munchies she consumed at least twice a day for 16 years. Agnes Mercado claims ConAgra, the maker of Act II popcorn, is responsible for irreversible lung disease that will one day require a transplant.
Agnes consumed two or three bags of popcorn a day. “I’ve been eating popcorn many years, but now I wish I hadn’t. It’s made me very sick…. I didn’t know it would destroy my lungs.” The Far Rockaway woman is one of a handful of consumers who has sued over exposure to the additive biacetyl, which gives popcorn its buttery taste.
This is not the first time people have claimed the additive has destroyed airways in their lungs. In fact, several factory workers also have sued the Ohio company and other popcorn makers, resulting in more than $100 million in settlements, lawyers say.
Mercado learned last month she has a condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans. She says she ate Act II Lite popcorn every day from 1991 to 2007. Mercado is confined to a desk job at a Rockaway nursing home and carries an oxygen tank with her everywhere she goes, said her lawyer, Wendy Fleishman. “She has to work in a sedentary job,” Fleishman said. “She just had a horrible reaction to this. It should never have been added to microwave popcorn or any other food.”