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Chemical culprit in 'popcorn worker's lung' identified
Date:8/31/2007

clined to participate in the research.

This is the first study where cases of BOS were found in a chemical plant producing diacetyl, wrote Dr. van Rooy.

While the researchers were unable to rule out contributions of other chemicals to the development of BOS, the study significantly narrows the field of suspects to diacetyl and the components and byproducts of its manufacturing process.

The spectrum of exposures is much smaller in this production plant compared with the popcorn processing plants where a wide range of chemicals was identified, the researchers wrote. This population-based survey establishes the presence of BOS, or popcorn workers lung, in chemical workers manufacturing a flavoring ingredient with exposures to diacetyl, acetoin and acetyldehyde. Any or all of these exposures may contribute to the risk of this emerging occupational disease.

The novel finding of four cases of BOS in workers at the diacetyl plant has important implications for practicing physicians and public health officials.

None of the four cases had been recognized as bronchiolitis obliterans or as occupationally related, wrote Kathleen Kreiss, M.D., in the accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal. To identify flavoring-related bronchiolitis obliterans, physicians need to consider the diagnosis, she noted. Dr. Kreiss, of the Field Studies Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, was one of the first investigators on the scene when popcorn workers lung arose as a public health issue.

Furthermore, she writes, the collective evidence for diacetyl causing a respiratory hazard supports action to minimize exposure to diacetyl, even if contributions by other flavoring chemicals exist.


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Contact: Suzy Martin
smartin@thoracic.org
212-315-8631
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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