Eight workers at the Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. plant in Jasper, Missouri have suffered irreversible lung damage. In fact, four of the workers need lung transplants.
Another 21 of the plant’s 117 employees are displaying signs of lung problems.
The cause is still being investigated. However, the injured workers all inhaled substantial amounts of artificial butter flavouring vapours coming from large vats. The investigation will conduct tests on rats to determine whether an ingredient in the flavouring has caused the lung problems.
The workers aren’t waiting for the test results. Sixteen current and former employees are seeking workers’ compensation. They have also filed a class-action suit against the company that makes the artificial butter flavouring, International Flavours and Fragrances.