Flavoring-related lung disease

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 24 Feb 2024

Flavoring-related lung disease is a potentially disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease of workers making or using flavourings. It is a form of inhalational lung disease and some also regard it as a form of pneumoconiosis.

It is thought to be mostly triggered by volatile α-dicarbonyl compounds, particularly diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) and 2,3-pentanedione which may be present in food production facilities that make food products such as biscuits, cereal, chocolate, and coffee 3. This may result in a bronchiolitis obliterans-type picture 1.

This disease was first reported in the late 1990s in microwave popcorn workers exposed to butter-flavoring vapors 2.

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