Man receives $7 million settlement for “popcorn lung”

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COLORADO -- A Colorado man has won a $7 million lawsuit this week. He says microwave popcorn caused him to develop a respiratory problem known as "popcorn lung."

Microwave popcorn was one of Wayne Watson's favorite snacks. He ate about two bags per day -- until about six years ago, when he started having trouble breathing.

Watson was diagnosed with a disease called "bronchiolitis obliterans," and has lost 50% of his lung capacity.

Doctors concluded Watson's disease was caused by fumes released when he microwaved his popcorn.

Watson sued the company, saying it failed to warn him of the risks. After a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury awarded Watson $7 million.

The chemical in question is no longer used in popcorn. However, Watson's attorney is handling five other similar cases. Watson's attorney said he hopes the size of Watson's award sends a message.

"I think that unfortunately is the history of our country, that large verdicts tend to get companies to do what's right," Watson's attorney said.

While Watson says the money will help, it won't cure his disease.

"I don't take inhalers. I just do the best I can," Watson said.