Popcorn Lung Couple Files For Bankruptcy Eight Years After Winning $20 Million Lawsuit

By Amir Khan on October 16, 2012 12:40 PM EDT

Popcorn
The Missouri couple who won $20 million by suing popcorn manufacturers for causing their lung disease, known as popcorn lung, has filed for bankruptcy just eight years after winning their lawsuit. (Photo: Creative Commons)

The Missouri couple who won $20 million by suing popcorn manufacturers for causing their lung disease, known as popcorn lung, has filed for bankruptcy just eight years after winning their lawsuit.

Eric Peoples and his wife, Cassandra, sued International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and Bush Boake Allen Inc. after Eric developed bronchiolitis obliterans, better known as popcorn lung, after working in a popcorn plant. However, the money evaporated quickly, and the couple has declared bankruptcy and is selling off all of their assets.

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The Peoples' residence and 10.5 acres of land are only worth $700,000 and they only have $33,000 in assets, according to the Joplin Globe. However, they are in debt for nearly $750,000. There is no word on how exactly they spent all their money.

Symptoms of popcorn lung include dry cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. Popcorn lung is not typically found in consumers. Instead, plant workers who are exposed to large doses of diacetyl are usually at risk.

Not only can the diacetyl cause popcorn lung, the chemical was also recently linked to Alzheimer's disease. Diacetyl's structure is similar to a substance that makes amyloid clump in the brain -- a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers decided to investigate DA could cause amyloid to clump, and found not only that it could, but that it also enhanced the toxic effect amyloid has on nerve cells.

"In light of the chronic exposure of industry workers to DA, this study raises the troubling possibility of long-term neurological toxicity mediated by DA," the researchers wrote.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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