Tongan man awarded NZ$ 3 million compensation after inhaling toxic chemicals

    A Tongan-American man who suffered a disease that caused more than a half of his lung fail to function properly has been awarded a NZ$ 3,457,562.76 after an Orange jury in the United States announced its verdict last week.

    Tanu Vatuvei, 38, of Lenox suffered a severe lung disease that “characterized by fixed airway obstruction” after years of inhaling diacetyl at his workplace. Diacetyl is a chemical “commonly used in the food flavouring industry to mimic the taste and texture of butter”, prnewswire website reported.

    In court, the trial attorney for Mr. Vatuvei, Mr. Jacob Plattenberger said: “Tanu did nothing wrong, he simply went to work, day in and day out, without complaint, and for that, the defendants robbed him of a normal life by exposing him to toxic chemicals without his knowledge,” it said.

    Vatuvei’s  attorneys argued the supplier of the chemical, Citrus and Allied Essences Ltd., “was aware of the hazards of breathing it in, but did nothing to warn the employees about it”.

    Diagnosing with “bronchiolitis obliterans”, the effect of the toxic chemical affected Vatuvei’s life condition “to the point where it is difficult for him to get around without losing his breath”, according to the news.

    The website said: “Vatuvei, worked with diacetyl on a daily basis for nearly ten years at an Orange County flavor manufacturing plant, Mission Flavors & Fragrances, Inc”.

    When he was at the age of 34, “Mr. Vatuvei contracted bronchiolitis obliterans as a result of his exposure to diacetyl and he was left with only 40% of his lung function”.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo foaki ki ha tangata Tonga-ʻAmelika ne ne fokoutua ʻi ha mahaki ne iku ʻikai toe lava e konga lahi ʻa hono maʻamaʻá ʻo ngāue lelei, ha paʻanga ʻe $3 miliona tupu Nuʻu Sila.

      Ko e maʻu ʻeni ʻe he tangatá ni ʻa e paʻangá ni hili ia hano tuku mai ha tuʻutuʻuni ʻa ha kau sula ʻi Orange ʻi ʻAmelika ʻi he uike kuo ʻosí, fakatatau ki he lau ʻa e uepisaiti ko e prnewswire.

      Naʻe puke ʻa Tanu Vatuvei taʻu 38 ʻi he alanga mahaki ʻo e maʻamaʻá ʻokú ne fakatupunga e faingataʻa ʻo e mānavá hili ia ha taʻu lahi ʻene mānavaʻaki ʻi heʻene ngāueʻangá ʻa e kemikale ʻoku ui ko e diacetyl. Ko e kemikale diacetyl ʻoku lahi fakaʻaongaʻi ʻe he ngaahi ngāueʻanga ʻoku ngaohi ai ʻa e ngaahi meʻa fakaifoifo kaí ke maʻu e ifo mo e fōtunga ʻo e patá, ka ne ʻilo ia ki mui ʻoku kona ki he tangatá.

      Ne kikihi e fa’ahi taukapo ‘a Vatuvei ‘o pehē ne ʻilo lelei pe ʻe he kautaha ko ʻeni ne nau hū atu ʻa e kemikalé ni, Citrus and Allied Essences Ltd, ʻoku kovi hano mānavaʻaki ka ne ʻikai pe ke nau fai ha meʻa ke ʻilo ʻe he toko taha ngāué ʻa hono nunuʻá.

      Naʻe fakahā ʻe he loea taukapo ʻa Tanú ki he fakamaauʻangá ʻo pehē ne ʻikai fai ʻe Tanu ia ha meʻa ne hala ko ʻene ʻalu pe ʻo ngāue he ʻaho ki he ʻaho ʻikai ha lāunga pea ko hono olá ē ko hono hanga ʻe he fakaʻiloá ʻo toʻo fakamālohiʻi e angamaheni ʻene moʻuí ʻaki hono tuku ia ke feʻao mo e kemikalé ni taʻe te ne ʻilo ki ai.

      Ne maʻu ai ia ʻe he mahaki ko e bronchiolitis obliterans ʻo aʻu ki ha tuʻunga ne ʻikai pe haʻane toe faʻahinga māfihunga ʻana ʻe taʻe faingataʻaʻia hangē pe ka molé ʻene mānavá.

      Fakatatau ki he lipooti ʻa e uepisaiti ko ʻení ne mei aʻu ki he taʻu ʻe 10 e mānavaʻaki ʻe Tanu ʻa e kemikale ko ʻeni ʻi he ngāueʻanga fakaifoifo meʻatokoní ni ʻoku ui ko e Mission Flavour & Fragrance, Inc.

      ʻI hono taʻu 34 ne maʻu ai ia ʻe he bronchiolitis obliterans tupu mei he kemikale koná ni pea iku ki he tuʻunga ko e peseti pe ʻe 40 hono maʻamaʻá ne kei ngāue leleí.

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