OSHA Takes Action on Butter Flavorings

OSHA announced yesterday that it is taking the following three actions that will address concerns regarding diacetyl exposure in the workplace:

  1. Initiating a rulemaking under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  2. Issuing a Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB).
  3. Providing Hazard Communication Guidance.

These actions build upon the National Emphasis Program that OSHA announced in April 2007 to focus on the health hazards of microwave popcorn butter flavoring containing diacetyl.

"OSHA's goal is to protect workers from exposure to chemical hazards associated with microwave popcorn manufacturing," said OSHA's Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Our open, transparent regulatory process will seek information and guidance from all stakeholders to gather the best information on the health effects of exposure to diacetyl. That information will allow us to institute effective protections for workers."

The SHIB provides information on health effects for workers exposed to butter flavorings in microwave popcorn processing plants, information on exposure controls that may be used to reduce exposures to butter flavorings, and information on applicable OSHA standards. The Hazard Communication Guidance alerts employers, workers, manufacturers and importers about new information related to the health hazards associated with diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl and provides guidance on how to develop material safety data sheets and hazard warning labels to be in compliance with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard.

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