HEALTH HAZARD COMMUNICATION UPDATE: DIACETYL AND FOOD FLAVORINGS CONTAINING DIACETYL Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU/UFCW 30 East 29th Street New York, NY 10016 (212) 684-5300 www.rwdsu.org
Information Sources: Information presented in this power point presentation comes from the OSHA publication “Hazard Communication Guidance for Diacetyl and Food Flavorings Containing Diacetyl. Additional information is available in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-110 entitled NIOSH Alert. Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings. Acknowledgement: Support for this presentation comes in part from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, under Susan Harwood grant # SH-16616-07-60-F-36. These materials do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.
WHAT IS IT? Diacetyl is naturally formed in food, but it is also used as a synthetic flavoring. Diacetyl gives butter and other food flavorings a distinctive buttery flavor and aroma.
HOW HAS DIACETYL BEEN USED IN FOOD PROCESSING?Diacetyl has been used in a wide variety of foods including: Microwave popcorn and other snack foods. Dairy products including butter and cream cheese. Oils Bakery dough and other baked goods. Caramel and other candies. Pet foods
WHY IS THERE CONCERN ABOUT DIACETYL? A number of workers who have been exposed to food flavorings containing diacetyl have been diagnosed with asthma or bronchiolitis obliterans.
WHAT IS BRONCHIOLITIS OBLITERANS? Bronchiolitis obliterans is a very serious respiratory illness which occurs when small airways in the lungs become inflamed and scarred. The scar tissue narrows the airways seriously reducing normal lung function. Severe bronchiolitis obliterans results in permanent loss of lung function. Some exposed workers now require lung transplants. At least three workers died.
SYMPTOMS OF DIACETYL EXPOSURE Persistent dry cough Wheezing Shortness of breath upon exertion Eye, nose and/or upper respiratory irritation and/or burns
ANIMAL STUDIES Recent studies in which rodents were exposed to diacetyl, and butter flavorings containing diacetyl, resulted in respiratory tract damage and death among the animals.
CASE INVESTIGATIONS The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigated disease outbreaks at several microwave popcorn production facilities. Jasper, Missouri plant: first case in 1994; 8 more in 2000. Other NIOSH reports of workers with health symptoms associated with exposure to diacetyl included facilities in Philips, NE Sioux City, IA Ridway, IL Marion, OH The investigations also raised concern about another artificial butter flavoring: Acetoin.
PHYSICAL HAZARD Any liquid which has a flashpoint under 100° F is considered flammable. The flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which it can form an ignitable mixture in the air. Diacetyl has a flashpoint of 47°F.
HAZARD COMMUNICATION The Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200) requires that manufacturers and employers determine and provide appropriate hazard warning language for labels. Labels for containers of diacetyl must contain hazard warning statements similar to the following: Diacetyl DANGER Can cause damage to respiratory tract and lungs if inhaled. Highly flammable WARNING Can cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. Responsible party name and contact information. Similar labeling language should be used for containers of food flavoring which contain 1% or more of diacetyl.
CONTROLLING WORKPLACE EXPOSURES Engineering Controls The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends measures such as enclosing mixing processes and use of local and general exhaust ventilation. Respiratory Protection To be determined by employer based on work processes and environment based on NIOSH investigations of exposed microwave popcorn workers an air purifying respirator equipped with organic vapor cartridges in combination with particulate filters would provide the minimum level of protection. Supplied air respirators and powered air purifying respirators (with organic vapor cartridges and particulate filters) are acceptable.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT Gloves and aprons Made from butyl rubber, Teflon™ or Tychem ™ to reduce skin contact with ketones. Chemical gloves or sleeves must be used when handling liquid, paste or powdered flavoring ingredients that could cause damage to the skin. Goggles or other eye protection Must be used when exposure to diacetyl is likely to cause injury to the eyes. EXPOSURE STANDARD There is no OSHA standard on permissible exposure to diacetyl. There is no NIOSH recommended exposure limit for diacetyl.
IS DIACETYL OR ACETOIN USED IN YOUR FACILITY? HAS IT BEEN IN THE PAST? HOW COULD YOU FIND OUT? ARE THERE CONCERNS ABOUT OTHER FOOD FLAVORINGS AT YOUR FACILITY?