Flavorings-Related Lung Disease
In August 2000, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services requested technical assistance from NIOSH in an investigation of bronchiolitis obliterans in former workers of a microwave popcorn plant in Jasper, Missouri. Bronchiolitis obliterans is a serious lung disease that is irreversible. The Missouri request led to intensive NIOSH research performed in collaboration with the microwave popcorn industry and flavorings manufacturers. The findings from that research provided a basis for a 2004 NIOSH Alert, "Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings." In addition to the full Alert in English, a Summary Sheet from the Alert is available in Spanish (en Espaсol). Although much remains unknown regarding the toxicity of flavoring-related chemicals, employers and workers can take steps to address working conditions and work practices that place workers at risk.