Issue Date: April 30, 2007
OSHA to target diacetyl exposures
Occupational exposure to the flavoring compound diacetyl (or 2,3-butanedione) will be targeted in a National Emphasis Program announced by OSHA last week. The move was immediately criticized by congressional leaders as inadequate. As far back as 2000, OSHA was informed of severe lung disease suffered by workers at microwave popcorn manufacturers using diacetyl as a butter flavoring. Labor unions sued the agency in July 2006 for an emergency workplace standard for the compound, but OSHA had not acted until now. The emphasis program will deploy OSHA inspection resources to those workplaces anticipated to have the highest employee exposures to diacetyl, according to an agency statement. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Education & Labor, countered that the agency action "falls far short of what is necessary to prevent deaths and serious injury among workers."
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