Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Turns out those bags of microwave popcorn we keep stashed in our desks may be unhealthy for reasons other than the transfat in the pseudo-butter. OSHA today announced that it is initiating a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to address the hazards and control measures associated with working in the microwave popcorn industry where butter flavorings containing diacetyl are used.
In January 2006, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released an investigative report on a microwave popcorn production facility. Several employees from this facility were diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans — a severe obstructive lung disease. Following a number of lung function tests and air sampling, NIOSH determined that inhalation exposure to butter flavoring chemicals is a risk for occupational lung disease. OSHA's NEP will provide direction on inspection targeting and procedures, methods of controlling the hazard, and compliance assistance.