Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dangerous Popcorn & OSHA Lethargy

Popcorn Here's an update to yesterday's post on Unhealthy Popcorn.  According to an article in today's New York Times, OSHA has known for years about the dangers diacetyl (used to give popcorn a buttery flavor) poses to workers producing microwave popcorn, but refused to do anything about it until prodded recently in a Congressional hearing.  Even now, it's proposal is merely to prepare a safety bulletin, to propose a voluntary compliance program, and to inspect a few dozen of the thousands of food plants that use the additive.  Per the NYT article:

That response reflects OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.

OSHA's response is that it has "moved cautiously on new rules because those require extensive scientific and economic analysis."

For the complete NYT story, see OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry.  Hat tip: Dana Nguyen.

rb

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