April 27, 2007 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels Following up on a powerful indictment of OSHA’s failure to protect workers from diacetyl and other hazards published two days ago in the New York Times, today’s edition of the newspaper has a scathing editorial on the demise of OSHA under the Bush Administration. The editorial writers particularly go after OSHA Assistant […]

April 26, 2007 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels On April 26, 2002, exactly five years ago today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report about the risk of a terrible and sometime fatal lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, in microwave popcorn workers. The report appeared in the CDC’s widely-disseminated Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Since then, dozens of workers […]

April 25, 2007 The Pump Handle 2Comment

By David Michaels On the front page of today’s New York Times, reporter Stephen Labaton highlights a trend that we’ve been writing about here at The Pump Handle for some time: Occupational Safety and Health Administration has delayed or halted work on important standards for worker protection and put more of its energies into voluntary […]

April 24, 2007 The Pump Handle 1Comment

By David Michaels As regular readers of this blog know, worker health advocates have been pushing for regulation of diacetyl, an artificial butter flavoring chemical that’s been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, a terrible, sometimes fatal lung disease. Today, in anticipation of two Congressional hearings and a major newspaper article due out tomorrow, OSHA has announced […]

April 10, 2007 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels Labor health advocates in California are supporting legislation banning diacetyl, the flavoring chemical implicated in numerous cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a debilitating lung disease, among workers in the food industry. The ban may never occur, but by demanding it we are getting closer to protecting workers and the public from this very […]

March 30, 2007 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels Every month, more workers exposed to artificial butter flavor are being diagnosed with lung disease. Last July, two unions, with the help of the Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy Project, petitioned OSHA for an Emergency Temporary Standards to protect workers from exposure to diacetyl, a flavoring chemical that causes bronchiolitis obliterans, a […]

March 15, 2007 The Pump Handle

Diacetyl is a commonly used food additive made to give a buttery flavor to breads, cookies, candy and other goods. For decades, the chemical has been classified as “GRAS” (generally recognized as safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration. But for workers exposed to the chemical in food production factories, there is compelling scientific […]

January 17, 2007 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels Later today, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will hold a public meeting to consider issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect workers exposed to the chemical diacetyl. This chemical, a primary component of artificial butter flavor, has been implicated as a cause of bronchiolitis obliterans, a debilitating and sometimes […]

January 15, 2007 The Pump Handle 3Comment

By David Michaels The outbreak of severe lung disease caused by exposure to diacetyl, the chemical that makes food taste like artificial butter flavor, is growing. According to the California Department of Health Services, there are now eight known cases of severe obstructive lung disease among workers exposed to diacetyl, with three more reported cases […]

December 22, 2006 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels In July, two unions, backed by a group of scientists, petitioned both federal OSHA and California OSHA to issue rules to protect workers from diacetyl, the chemical implicated in dozens of cases of lung disease in the food industry (See our earlier post “Artificial Butter Flavor is (Still) Killing Workers”). Federal OSHA […]