Personal Injury

Professional Cooks at Risk for Diacetyl Exposure

chef 315x210 Professional Cooks at Risk for Diacetyl ExposureLast year published an article warning against the chemicals found in cooking sprays, advising the consumer to check the ingredients before using the product.

Deborah Enos, a certified nutritionist author, corporate health speaker and board member of the American Heart Association, writes that she was “shocked” to see the ingredients listed on a can of cooking spray, and decided to stop using them based on what she saw. “I prefer to keep the chemical consumption in my home at a minimum,” she writes.

Diacetyl was among the ingredients listed, which is a chemical that has been a health concern for a number of years now. Diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione (a diacetyl substitute) are chemicals that produce a buttery or creamy flavoring.

Diacetyl is found in microwave popcorn, flavored coffee, ready-to-mix desserts, oil sprays, and many more processed products. It is also a common chemical used in flavorings of e-cigarettes. It is a naturally-occurring chemical in the coffee-roasting process and is a heavily used chemical additive to flavored coffee.

The danger of diacetyl is when it is inhaled. When inhaled, the person is at risk for developing obliterative bronchiolitis, a serious lung disease that is also known as  “popcorn lung” for the microwave popcorn plant workers that developed the lung disease in 2000.

Obliterative bronchiolitis is a disease where the smallest airways of the lungs become scarred and restricted. The symptoms include difficulty breathing, and it is often misdiagnosed as asthma or chronic bronchitis. The lung disease is only treatable by lung transplant.

Seattle P-I conducted an investigation into the exposure risk of professional cooks. Dr. Richard Kanwal, a medical officer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the research arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told Seattle P-I, “It is possible that the amount of diacetyl being released in commercial kitchens where these butter-flavored products are being used could equal or perhaps exceed what was found in the popcorn plants.”

Seattle P-I
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