Thousands of Workers in Puerto Rico’s Coffee Shops Could be Exposed to Diacetyl
Zimmetry Environmental provides testing services to identify diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl to protect workers from exposure risks.
Thousands of workers roast and brew the coffee on a daily basis to meet demand, but these same workers could be exposed to respiratory hazards caused by diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione.
Puerto Rico is famous for its richly flavored and aromatic brews of coffee. The territory is also the United State’s largest producer of coffee with approximately 10 million pounds produced in 2014.
Residents and visitors to the islands enjoy their coffee shops and local roasters from Old San Juan to the many beach resorts. Thousands of workers roast and brew the coffee on a daily basis to meet demand, but these same workers could be exposed to respiratory hazards caused by diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. Both of these chemicals are naturally produced when coffee beans are roasted and they are also added to flavor some coffees.
Earlier this year, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a science blog, Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung Disease. It discusses diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that workers can be exposed to when roasting coffee and the case of multiple workers from a coffee processing facility who were all diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a form of lung disease.
“Bronchiolitis obliterans occurs when small airways become inflamed and scarred,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “The symptoms and airways obstruction range from mild to severe and do not improve when the employee goes home. Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare disease so it is likely some workers in coffee roasting facilities have been misdiagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or pneumonia in the past. The loss of pulmonary function associated with severe bronchiolitis obliterans is permanent so preventing the disease is essential.”
Testing for diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione are just one example of the many substances that the industrial hygiene professionals at Zimmetry Environmental offer to businesses across Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. If test results show elevated levels of the chemical compounds, Zimmetry can provide solutions to reduce worker exposure through everything from engineering controls to personal protective equipment. Zimmetry also recently sponsored a video about diacetyl and workplace exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/S61lA5iezn0
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their industrial hygiene, indoor environmental quality, compliance and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.
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