Evaluation of exposures and respiratory health at a coffee roasting and packaging facility.
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Evaluation of exposures and respiratory health at a coffee roasting and packaging facility.

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      "In October 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from the management of a coffee roasting and packaging facility with 94 employees. The request stated concerns about exposures to and health effects from diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione during coffee roasting, grinding, and packaging. In April 2016, we conducted a ventilation assessment of the production and office areas, industrial hygiene survey, and medical survey at the facility. The industrial hygiene survey consisted of collecting personal breathing zone and area air samples for alpha-diketones (i.e., diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and 2,3-hexanedione). We used continuous monitoring instruments to measure total volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature, and relative humidity in specific areas and during tasks. We also measured levels of carbon monoxide in employees' exhaled breath. The medical survey consisted of a health questionnaire and breathing tests. Sixty-nine of the 88 full-shift personal samples collected exceeded the NIOSH recommended exposure limit for diacetyl of 5 parts per billion, with a maximum concentration of 25.6 parts per billion. We identified jobs where some work tasks resulted in relatively higher air concentrations of diacetyl than other tasks. Specifically, rework of packaged coffee, moving roasted beans or ground coffee, grinding coffee beans, and packaging coffee were associated with higher diacetyl levels. Overall, the most commonly reported symptoms were nose and eye symptoms. Some production employees reported their nose and sinus symptoms were caused or aggravated by green coffee dust or chaff, roasted coffee dust, or ground coffee dust. Wheezing or whistling in the chest was the most commonly reported lower respiratory symptom, and was nearly two times higher than that expected compared with the U.S. population of the same age, race/ethnicity, sex, and cigarette smoking distribution. No participants had abnormal spirometry tests. We recommend installing local exhaust ventilation at the point sources with the highest concentrations of alpha-diketones. In addition to local exhaust ventilation, we recommend isolating or re-locating the main grinder. We also recommend a medical monitoring program to identify any employees who might be developing work-related lung disease (e.g., asthma, obliterative bronchiolitis) and to help management prioritize interventions to prevent occupational lung disease." - NIOSHTIC-2

      Recommended citation for this report: NIOSH [2018]. Health hazard evaluation report: Evaluation of exposures and respiratory health at a co ee roasting and packaging facility. By Stanton ML, Martin SB, Nett RJ. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH HHE Report No. 2016-0016-3302

      NIOSHTIC no. 20050903


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