Agency to publish proposed rule on occupational exposure to diacetyl
Diacetyl is a natural by-product of fermentation and is also synthesized by chemical manufacturers. Diacetyl gives certain food flavorings a distinctive buttery flavor and aroma. Food flavorings containing diacetyl are used in microwave popcorn and other snack foods, pet foods, candies, baked goods, and other products.
In recent years, occupational safety and health advocates have become increasingly concerned about the effects of prolonged exposure to diacetyl. A number of microwave popcorn packaging employees exposed to diacetyl have developed serious respiratory illnesses, including asthma. Studies have also shown respiratory tract damage and death among rodents exposed to diacetyl and butter flavorings containing diacetyl.
The agency's proposal, which was published in the Jan. 21 edition of the Federal Register, seeks public comments on issues related to occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl, including the relationship between exposure to diacetyl and the development of adverse health effects; methods to evaluate and monitor exposure; methods to control exposure; employee training; medical observation for adverse health effects related to diacetyl exposure; and related topics.
To submit comments electronically, log on to www.regulations.gov -- the federal e-rulemaking portal -- and follow the instructions. Alternatively, if comments do not exceed 10 pages, they may be faxed to (202) 693-1648. If submitting comments by mail, send three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket Number OSHA-2008-0046, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210.
March 9, 2009
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