Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Diacetyl Causes Lung Disease in Food Workers
The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has concluded that bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare disease of lung airways that severely impairs breathing, is caused by occupational exposure to diacetyl. Diacetyl is a key ingredient in butter flavoring used in food manufacturing.
In May, 2000, nine individuals who had worked at the same microwave popcorn processing facility developed bronchiolitis obliterans. In response to NIOSH’s findings the federal government created a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate employee exposures to flavoring chemicals used in microwave popcorn manufacturing facilities.
“Diacetyl is a bigger problem than for just employees at microwave popcorn manufacturing facilities,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc. “In fact, diacetyl vapors are released in numerous products when the manufacturer’s recommended amount of margarine, oil, or spray is heated.”
The best way to protect employees against the harmful effects of diacetyl is to install general dilution ventilation, to use local exhaust ventilation for tanks that contained butter flavorings, and to supply employees with personal protective equipment.
OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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