|<< Back to Lung Disease Related to Butter Flavorings Exposure
Diacetyl is a chemical used to add flavor and aroma to food and
other products. Workers who breathe diacetyl on the job have
become disabled or have died from severe lung disease.
Some diacetyl substitutes may also cause harm.*
|Examples of FlavorsThat
May Contain Diacetyl and
Industries and Jobs Using
Diacetyl and Substitutes
- Dairy flavors (e.g., butter, cheese,
- "Brown" flavors (e.g., caramel,
butterscotch, brown sugar).
- Other flavors (e.g., butter pecan,
some fruit flavors).
- Flavor manufacturing plants.
- Plants where flavors containing
diacetyl or substitutes are used,
such as some makers of snack
foods, baked goods, and candy.
- Jobs at or near mixing, weighing, pouring,
transferring, or other handling of diacetyl or
flavorings containing diacetyl, especially if
- Cleaning and maintenance operations.
- Quality assurance and laboratory jobs.
If you work with flavorings containing
diacetyl or substitutes for diacetyl,
your employer should:
- Measure air in your workplace for
flavorings exposure, including air
in your breathing zone (personal
- Use engineering/work practice
controls such as local exhaust
ventilation, isolating processes,
and restricting access to areas
where diacetyl or its substitutes
- Provide personal protective
equipment (PPE) such as
respirators, goggles, and gloves.
- Provide medical clearance for
respirator use and provide
instructions and training in protective
equipment care and use.
- Refer workers for medical evaluation for
symptoms of coughing, breathing difficulty, or
- Provide training on how you can protect your
| Health Effects and Symptoms
* Diacetyl substitutes that have not been proven to be safe include diacetyl trimer, 2,3 hexanedione, 2,3 heptanedione,
and 2,3 pentanedione.
- Breathing diacetyl can result in permanent lung damage, including a disabling and potentially fatal
lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.
- Symptoms of flavoring-related lung disease include ongoing cough and shortness of breath. If you
have either of these, ask your employer to send you to a doctor for evaluation.
- Flavorings containing diacetyl may also burn the eyes, cause soreness in the nose and throat, and
irritate the skin.