The alternative butter flavoring 2,3-pentanedione causes airway epithelial damage similar to the damage caused by diacetyl, according to NIOSH and NIEHS research.

Diacetyl Substitutes Also Harmful

NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard has informed OSHA's assistant secretary that NIOSH and NIEHS research on the alternative butter flavoring 2,3-pentanedione "suggests that, in rats, 2,3-pentanedione causes airway epithelial damage similar to that produced by diacetyl."

Thanks to The Pump Handle, an estimable health and safety blog written by staffers from The Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP, part of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services), we have a sneak preview of troubling new research findings about harmful health effects of diacetyl alternatives.

The blog's Celeste Monforton has posted a Dec. 23 letter by NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard informing OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels, Ph.D, MPH, that research on an alternative butter flavoring, 2,3-pentanedione, by NIOSH and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences "suggests that, in rats, 2,3-pentanedione causes airway epithelial damage similar to that produced by diacetyl. . . ."

Howard's letter says the research results will be presented at the Society of Toxicology's 43rd Annual Meeting, which will take place March 7-11, 2010, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Abstracts of the results also will be published soon in The Toxicologist, a supplement to the society's Toxicological Sciences journal, Howard wrote.

The meeting will be attended by an estimated 6,500 professional toxicologists who will attend sessions on topics such as phthalate toxicity, silica and asbestos immunotoxicity, toxicological challenges in the development of "green" products, public health consequences of Superfund sites, and the safety of vitamins and minerals. The meeting's exposition, called ToxExpo™, is the largest in the world for this profession, according to the society.

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