Pulmonary Impairment and Risk Assessment in a Diacetyl-Exposed Population
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Pulmonary Impairment and Risk Assessment in a Diacetyl-Exposed Population

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Occup Environ Med
    • Description:
      Objectives: The butter flavoring additive, diacetyl (DA), can cause bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) by inhalation. A risk assessment was performed using data from a microwave popcorn manufacturing plant. Methods: Current employees’ medical history and pulmonary function tests together with air sampling over a 2.7-year period were used to analyze forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC). The exposure responses for declining pulmonary function and for possible early onset of BO were estimated using multiple regression methods. Several exposure metrics were investigated; benchmark dose and excess lifetime risk of impairment were calculated. Results: Forty-six percent of the population had less than 6 months exposure to DA. Percent-of-predicted FEV1 declined with cumulative exposure (0.40 per ppm-yr, P < 10−7) as did percent FEV1/FVC (0.13 per ppm-yr, P = 0.0004). Lifetime respiratory impairment prevalence of one per thousand resulted from 0.005 ppm DA and one per thousand lifetime incidence of impairment was predicted for 0.002 ppm DA. Conclusion: DA exposures, often exceeding 1 ppm in the past, place workers at high risk of pulmonary impairment.
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