April 24, 2007
Contact: Sharon Worthy
Phone: (202) 693-4676
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (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.
"We recognize that there are potential occupational health hazards associated with butter flavorings containing diacetyl," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Under this program, OSHA will target inspection resources to those workplaces where we anticipate the highest employee exposures to these hazards."
The NEP applies to all workplaces where butter flavored microwave popcorn is being manufactured.
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 National Emphasis Program will provide direction on inspection targeting and procedures, methods of controlling the hazard and compliance assistance.
The 24 states and two U.S. territories that operate their own OSHA programs are encouraged, but not required, to adopt a similar emphasis program.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.