OSHA Sets Oct. 17 Diacetyl Stakeholders Meeting

OSHA today announced it will host a meeting Oct. 17 for stakeholders to share information as the agency prepares to regulate workers' exposure to diacetyl, a microwave popcorn butter flavoring ingredient that has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, a respiratory disease. The meeting will take place at the Crown Plaza Hotel Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., and will be followed by a second meeting Oct. 18 if more than 50 people register for the first one.

Anyone interested in participating must register by Oct. 10 by sending an email to meetings@erg.com (subject line: Diacetyl Meeting) or faxing a notice of intention to attend to 781-674-2906.

OSHA said in its notice that it is "not aware of any new cases of serious airways disease consistent with bronchiolitis obliterans among microwave popcorn manufacturing employees since 2003." The notice asks presenters at the meeting to be ready to discuss approaches to exposure assessment, available exposure data, controls to minimize exposure, medical screening and surveillance, and uses of diacetyl and food flavorings that contain it. "There are likely to be thousands of worksites where such flavorings are used," the notice says, "and OSHA is seeking information on the nature of the flavoring formulations used, the processes in which they are used, the extent there is employee exposure, and the use and effectiveness of control measures. . . . The available evidence for disease in this industry is sparse."

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