June 5, 2008 The Pump Handle 0Comment

Do you know of any cases of Parkinson’s disease among workers at flavoring companies?  

David Egilman, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Brown University, is aware of two cases of Parkinson’s disease in men in their fifties who were flavorists at a large flavorings company.  The plant alone had 15 “flavorists.”  (The average age of onset for Parkinson’s is 60 and it is a relatively rare disease.)  Dr. Egilman is making an appeal to see if others are aware of a possible disease-exposure relationship.  As Pump Handle readers know, workers are typically the canaries for the rest of us.  If you know of similar cases in flavoring-exposed workers, contact Dr. Egilman at degilman@egilman.com

Dr. Egilman writes:

Since the United States has no registry for diseases (especially for non-fatal chronic disease) there is no systematic way to evaluate disease exposure relationships in workers.  Food additives, like the butter flavoring agent diacetyl, are untested for non-cancer outcomes and not tested for adverse effects on workers exposed in the production of the flavorings or application to food products.  (In fact, 25 or so food additives are known animal carcinogens and they get added to food anyway.)  

Again, if you know of cases of Parkinson’s disease in flavoring-exposed workers, contact  degilman@egilman.com




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