Occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione
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Occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione
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Occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione
  • Description:
    This criteria document is derived from the NIOSH evaluation of critical health effects studies of occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. It provides recommendations for controlling workplace exposures including recommended exposure limits derived by using current quantitative risk assessment methodology on human and animal health effects data. Using cross-sectional pulmonary function data from diacetyl-exposed employees, NIOSH conducted assessments to determine the exposure-response relationship and to identify risk of pulmonary function decrease at various levels of diacetyl exposure. NIOSH found that a relationship exists between diacetyl exposures and lower pulmonary function. Utilizing this analysis, NIOSH recommends keeping exposure to diacetyl below a concentration of 5 parts per billion as a time-weighted average during a 40-hour work week. To further protect against effects of short-term exposures, NIOSH recommends a short-term exposure limit for diacetyl of 25 parts per billion for a 15-minute time period. In many operations, 2,3-pentanedione is being used to substitute for diacetyl. Published toxicological studies indicate that 2,3-pentanedione exposure can cause damage similar to that caused by diacetyl in laboratory studies. Therefore, NIOSH recommends keeping occupational exposure to 2,3-pentanedione below a level comparable to the level recommended for diacetyl. However, the recommended sampling and analytical method can only reliably quantify it to 9.3 parts per billion in an 8-hour sample. NIOSH also recommends a short-term exposure limit for 2,3-pentanedione of 31 parts per billion during a 15-minute period. Engineering and work practices are available to control diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione exposures below the recommended exposure limits. A hierarchy of controls including elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and the use of personal protective equipment should be followed to control workplace exposures. NIOSH urges employers to disseminate this information to employees and customers. NIOSH also requests that professional and trade associations and labor organizations inform their members about the hazards of occupational exposure to these flavoring compounds. NIOSH appreciates the time and effort of the expert peer, stakeholder, and public reviewers whose comments and input strengthened this document. Suggested citation: NIOSH [2016]. Criteria for a recommended standard: occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. By McKernan LT, Niemeier RT, Kreiss K, Hubbs A, Park R, Dankovic D, Dunn KH, Parker J, Fedan K, Streicher R, Fedan J, Garcia A, Whittaker C, Gilbert S, Nourian F, Galloway E, Smith R, Lentz TJ, Hirst D, Topmiller J, Curwin B. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2016-111. NIOSH No 20048854
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