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Teamsters Applaud Passage of Legislation to Protect Workers From Diacetyl Exposure

Legislation Will Force OSHA to Take Long Overdue Action to Protect Workers

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. House of Representatives today approved by a large bipartisan majority the Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act (H.R. 2693), legislation designed to protect food processing workers from a form of lung disease that has been linked to diacetyl, a chemical used in artificial popcorn flavoring.

The irreversible form of lung disease is widely referred to as "popcorn lung" and has claimed a growing number of food processing workers who have grown ill or died after prolonged exposure to diacetyl at work every day.

"This is an important piece of legislation that will finally force OSHA to do what it should have a long time ago, issue rules to protect workers by limiting exposure to diacetyl," said Jim Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters Union. "How many people must be claimed by this disease? How much incontrovertible evidence does OSHA need before they take action? I thank Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) for spearheading this effort to protect America's workers."

The legislation would mandate that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an emergency standard within 90 days to minimize workers' exposure to diacetyl in popcorn flavorings manufacturing plants.

Employers would also be required to develop a written exposure plan that would use engineering controls and respirators to protect workers. It would also require employers to medically monitor workers to determine whether their health continues to be threatened by exposure. Additionally, OSHA would be mandated to issue a more comprehensive standard within two years covering all workplaces where workers may be exposed to diacetyl.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the U.S. and Canada.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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