Exposure to Diacetyl During Coffee Roasting

Exposure to a potentially hazardous compound in a work environment typically perceived as benign.

A recent article in the journal Sentinel discusses potential worker exposures to diacetyl and / or 2-pentanedione in an environment that you would probably think of as fairly benign – coffee roasting facilities. Or at worst, maybe the greatest hazard would be some chafing from tight hipster jeans.  It’ll be interesting to see if any further work is conducted to differentiate between effects from exposures to naturally-occurring diacetyl (such as from coffee) vs. effects that may result from exposures to artificial / synthetic diacetyl (such as from artificial butter-like flavourings). Considering that NIOSH is proposing a recommended exposure limit (REL) for diacetyl of 5 ppb, and the ACGIH TLV is currently at 10 ppb, it looks like there’s potential for some pretty significant overexposures in busier, industrial settings with greater coffee volumes and roast durations.

July 1, 2015

2 Responses on Exposure to Diacetyl During Coffee Roasting"

  1. Albert Condello says:

    Tobacco farm workers can get exposed to nicotine levels in excess for handling harvested leaves. On may ask what are the adverse effects of marijuana harvesting from an IH perspective. Both pesticide & THC.

  2. admin says:

    Yep, good point. I could see the marijuana exposures being used as ammo against legalization. Are the tobacco nicotine exposures primarily encountered during harvesting or more-so during activities like cigar rolling?

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