Poster Session 3

PS403
Poster Session 3

Author Attend Time: Tuesday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

*All posters are available for viewing in the expo hall from Monday 9:00 a.m. through Wednesday 1:00 p.m.


SR-403-01 Evaluation of the Impact of the “Restraining Line Rule” on the Incidence of Total and Head Injuries Occurring During NFL Kickoffs

P. Ruestow, J. Pierce, T. Duke, L. Roberts, B. Finley, Cardno ChemRisk, Chicago

Objective: Retire​​d National Football League (NFL) players have been found to be at increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease as a result of mild traumatic brain injuries. With increased attention on the chronic effects associated with football, the NFL has implemented rules in efforts to protect the health of its players. For example, prior to the 2011 season, the “Restraining Line Rule” was implemented whereby the restraining line was moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line in an effort to increase touchbacks, and all kicking team players other than the kicker were required to line up no more than 5 yards behind their restraining line (eliminating the 15–20 yard running “head start”). The objective of this analysis was to evaluate the effects of this rule on injury incidence.

Methods: Data on injuries occurring during kickoffs during the 2010 and 2011 NFL seasons were obtained from publically available NFL injury reports. The incidences of total and head injuries per 1,000 total kickoffs (including touchbacks) and per 1,000 kickoff returns prior to and after the enactment of the rule were compared using incidence rate ratios (RR). To evaluate if factors unrelated to the rule change were impacting injury rates a similar analysis was performed for punts, which would not have been affected by the rule.

Results: A statistically significant decrease was observed in the incidence of total injuries occurring during kickoffs in 2010 vs. 2011 (RR: 2.2, 1.3–3.8). When the analysis was restricted to kickoff returns this change was no longer significant (RR: 1.5, 0.8–2.5). While the incidence of head injuries decreased by approximately 3-fold during all kickoffs and 2-fold for kickoff returns, neither of these changes was significant (RR: 3.0, 0.8–11.2, and RR: 2.0, 0.5–7.5). No difference was observed in total or head injury incidence during punts or punt returns between the two seasons.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the decrease in total injuries occurring during kickoffs was principally impacted by the increased frequency of touchbacks, and not the elimination of the running “head start.” The absence of a significant change in head injuries during kickoffs was unexpected, but may be attributable to small sample size. Injury incidence rates occurring during punt plays did not change from 2010 to 2011, which further supports the use of rule changes in sports injury prevention.


SR-403-02 Identifying Predictors of Historical Lead Exposure Using the Published Literature and Meta-regression Model

S. Locke, M. Friesen, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD; N. Deziel, Yale University, New Haven, CT; D. Koh, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea

Objective: The published literature is a rich data resource that can be used in reconstructing exposures for population-based studies; however, the data are reported as summary statistics, creating statistical challenges. Using meta-regression to account for each statistic’s variance and measurement number, we evaluated predictors of lead exposure for U.S. workers performing activities related to lead-based paint or cutting/joining metal with heat using personal air and blood lead measurements from the published literature.

Methods: From the literature, we extracted geometric mean (GM), geometric standard deviation (GSD), measurement number and other ancillary exposure variables. Mixed-effects meta-regression models were developed separately for 206 air and 107 blood statistics, with log-transformed GM as the dependent variable. A random intercept was incorporated that weighted each result by a combination of the between- and within-result variances, where the within-result variance equaled 1/[(logGSD)2/N].Variables examined were year, job, industry, sampling strategy, containment use, worst case scenario, lead paint abatement work, respirator use, analytic method. Industry interactions with job and year were also tested.

Results: The models explained 71% of air and 89% of blood between-result variances. For air, exposure declined 7%/yr and GMs varied >70-fold across 8 jobs, with the highest predicted for abrasive blasters and painters. Air GMs for auto radiator repair, steel/bridge construction and shipyards were 5, 23, and 34 times higher than general construction. Other predictors of air GMs included containment use, lead paint abatement work and analytic method. For blood, exposure declined 6%/yr for steel structure construction, 2%/yr for auto repair services and <1%/yr for general and residential construction. Job blood GMs varied 8-fold, with abrasive blasters having the highest GMs. Blood lead GMs for auto radiator repair, steel/bridge construction, and shipyards exposures were 8, 1.3 and 1.4 times higher than general construction. Other predictors of blood lead GMs were job*industry interactions, worst-case scenario, respirator use and lead-based paint abatement work inside containments.

Conclusions: The contrasts in lead concentrations across time, job, and industry observed here using meta-regression of published data can aid retrospective exposure assessment in US population-based studies.


SR-403-03 Occupational Hearing Loss among Chinese Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study

Y. Liu, Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan, China

Objective: Occupational hearing loss is an increasingly prevalent occupational condition worldwide, and has been reported to occur in a wide range of workplaces; however, its prevalence among workers from municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLs) remains less clear. This study aimed to investigate the occupational hearing loss among Chinese MSWL workers.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 249 workers from 4 Chinese MSWLs was conducted. Noise levels at worksites of the 4 MSWLs were determined. We conducted hearing examinations for all workers to determine the hearing thresholds. Prevalence of occupational hearing loss was evaluated based on the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard. Using unconditional Logistic regression, we estimated the odds ratios (ORs) of MSWL workers associated with hearing loss.

Results: According to the work history for each worker, the study subjects were divided into 3 groups, including Group 1 of 64 workers without occupational hazards, Group 2 of 85 workers with a few or short-period occupational hazards related to MSWLs, and Group 3 of 100 workers with continuous occupational hazards related to MSWLs. The mean noise levels at work sites of Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were 57.5 dB, 60.7 dB and 70.1 dB, respectively. Noise levels of 3 work sites of Group 3 were higher than 85 dB. Significantly poorer hearing thresholds at frequencies of 2, 3 and 4 kHz were found in Group 3. The overall prevalence rate of hearing loss was found to be 23.3%, with the highest in Group 3 (36.0%). Compared to Group 1, the OR of Group 3 associated with hearing loss was 3.46 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.30-9.19).

Conclusions: MSWL workers suffer from significantly hearing impairment. MSWLs should consider hearing conservation programs.


SR-403-04 Plasma Hsp70 and Hsp27 Levels and the Risk of COPD in Coal Miners: A Case-control Study

X. Cui, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Objective: This case-control study aimed to investigate the associations between plasma levels of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in coal miners.

Methods: This study included 60 COPD cases and 30 age-matched healthy controls, all of which were male coal miners and worked in a same coal mine for at least 20 years. The COPD group consisted of 30 COPD patients without coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (CWP) and 30 COPD patients complicated with CWP. For every participant, fasting venous blood was collected by heparinized tubes. Plasma was isolated by centrifugating and then stored at -80℃ until detection by enzyme-linked immuno sorbent assay. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS version 9.1. Analysis of variance and chi-square test were used for statistical comparisons between groups. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to estimate the effects of Hsp70 and Hsp27 on COPD.

Results: The plasma Hsp70 levels of all COPD cases were significantly higher than those of healthy controls (P<0.01). Plasma Hsp27 levels of all COPD cases were significantly lower than those of controls (P<0.01). We found significant associations between higher plasma Hsp70 levels and risk of COPD with and without CWP, with ORs of 75.69 (95% CI 6.98-820.69) and 10.29 (95% CI 1.81-58.62) respectively. Lower plasma Hsp27 levels were significantly associated with COPD without CWP (OR 2.79; 95% CI 0.48-16.31), as well as COPD with CWP (OR 23.58; 95% CI 3.41–163.34), which was much higher than the former.

Conclusions: In summary, this case-control study showed that the up-regulation of plasma Hsp70 and the down-regulation of plasma Hsp27 might be associated with the risk of COPD among coal miners. Plasma Hsp70 and plasma Hsp27 may have the potential to be used as peripheral biomarkers for COPD monitoring in coal miners.


SR-403-05 Urinary Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolites and Altered Lung Function: A Population-based Study in China

Y. Zhou, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Objective: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exposure has been associated with adverse human health effects. However, the association between internal exposure to PAHs and altered lung function remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate dose-response relationships between urinary metabolites of PAHs and lung function in general population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional investigation of 3,053 adults in two communities in China. Each participant was administrated a standard questionnaire and a lung function test. Ten detectable urinary PAH metabolites (1-OHNa, 2-OHNa, 2-OHFlu, 9-OHFlu, 1-OHPh, 2-OHPh, 3-OHPh, 4-OHPh, 9-OHPh and 1-OHP) were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Multivariable linear regression and principle component regression were used to conduct dose-response analyses and compare the effect of each PAH metabolite on lung function alteration. We also explored possible correlation between internal PAHs exposure and exposure to traffic-related air pollution.

Results: With adjustment for potential confounders, 1-standard-deviation increase in ln9-OHFlu, ln2-OHFlu , ln4-OHPh, ln1-OHPh, ln2-OHPh, ln1-OHP and ln-total OH-PAHs was associated with a -20.15, -31.55, -22.81, -31.35, -31.33, -25.74 and -34.86 ml reduction in FEV1, respectively (all p<0.05), while 1-standard-deviation increase in ln2-OHFlu, ln2-OHPh, ln1-OHP and ln-total OH-PAHs was associated with a -33.47, -35.46, -23.83, -31.86 mL reduction in FVC, respectively (all p<0.05). Positive correlations between total OH-PAHs and traffic exposure time were found in both male (r=0.14) and female (r=0.24) nonsmokers, respectively (both p<0.001).

Conclusions: Certain urinary PAH metabolites were potentially associated with lung function decline in general population. Exposure to traffic exhaust and cigarette smoke might strengthen the associations.


SR-403-06 Comparison of Drinking Water Contaminant Levels in New Jersey to Regulatory and Human-Health Benchmarks

P. Williams, E Risk Sciences, LLP, Boulder, CO

Objective: Potential threats to drinking water and water quality continue to be a major concern in many regions of the United States. The purpose of the current analysis was to provide an up-to-date evaluation of the occurrence and detected concentrations of several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in public water systems, private wells, and ambient groundwater wells in New Jersey based on the best available data, and to put these results into context with federal and state regulatory and human-health benchmarks.

Methods: Analyses were based on three databases that contain water quality monitoring data for New Jersey: (1) Safe Drinking Water Information System (1997 to 2011), (2) Private Well Testing Act (2001-2011), and (3) National Water Information System (1993-2012). Contaminant levels of tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) were compared to federal or state primary Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), health-based MCLs, or other derived human-health benchmarks.

Results: PCE was detected at a concentration ≥0.44 μg/L, ≥1 μg/L, and ≥5 μg/L in 6.9%, 3.9%, and 1% of sampled public water systems, respectively. TCE was detected at a concentration ≥1 μg/L and ≥5 μg/L in 3.6% and 1.1% of sampled public water systems, respectively. Benzene was detected at a concentration ≥0.15 μg/L, ≥1 μg/L, and ≥5 μg/L in 3.1%, 0.9%, and 0.3% of sampled public water systems, respectively. MTBE was detected at a concentration ≥10 μg/L, ≥20 μg/L, and ≥70 μg/L in 2%, 1.4%, and 0.3% of sampled systems, respectively. Mean detected concentrations of PCE, TCE, benzene, and MTBE were 1.3 μg/L, 1.5 μg/L, 1.1 μg/L, and 2.7 μg/L, respectively. The detection frequency of these VOCs was notably lower in private wells, but higher in ambient groundwater wells. PCE, TCE, and benzene were detected more often above corresponding regulatory or human-health benchmarks than MTBE, due to their higher detected concentrations in water and/or greater toxicity values.

Conclusions: The current analysis provides useful data for evaluating historical and current contamination of water supplies in New Jersey and potential opportunities for public exposures and health risks on a statewide basis.


CS-403-07 Case Study in Providing Health Risk Assessment for New Technology in Challenging Environments

T. Zaccaro, Shell Brasil, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Situation/Problem: At Shell we require a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to be performed for all of our operations. The HRA provides assurance of health hazard controls; a key output being the remedial action plan addressing any identified gaps. As the company seeks opportunities requiring the use of new technologies in more challenging environments, the industrial hygienist is tasked with completing assessments in remote environments which are difficult to access and have unique combinations of hazards. One such unique challenge is the Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO). This vessel combines offshore drilling with oil storage and off loading capabilities. Constraints to reaching the FPSO are the limited number of persons who can be transported to the offshore location, and limited capacity for persons on board. As a result the HRA must be completed by the hygienist during a short on site visit to the FPSO.

Resolution: Shell has established a global database of HRAs using an inventory of health hazards and standard controls and recovery measures. This reference material allows the hygienist to build a majority of the HRA while on shore. This is done using knowledge gained in previous completed HRAs from similar operations, and by contacting operations, maintenance staff and contractors to collect relevant details. During the on site visit to the offshore facility, the hygienist then verifies the hazard inventory is complete and controls and recovery measures are adequate.

Results: A case study of an HRA for an FPSO off the coast of Brazil is presented.

Lessons Learned: A high degree of flexibility and adaptability is required by the hygienist to provide assurance of health hazard controls in remote locations. Learnings from various areas of the vessel in the production operations, marine maintenance, catering, drilling, emergency response and helicopter operations will be presented.


CS-403-08 Adjusting TLVs® for Reproductive and Developmental Health

A. Reineke, J. Elias, Elias Occupational Hygiene Consulting, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Situation/Problem: TLVs® are not designed to be used as regulatory standards. They are to be used as guidelines by professional industrial hygienists while assessing health risks to chemicals. Simply meeting the legislated criteria (an adopted TLV®) may not protect all workers. One example of this is reproductive and fetal development susceptibility. This includes the health risks of the pregnant worker during fetal development and to workers who are trying to get pregnant. To meet professional obligations we must go beyond the legislated demands and meet the intent of the TLV® Committee.

Resolution: Where the toxic effects of specific chemicals are known, determining the appropriate protective action to be taken is fairly straightforward. The industrial hygienist needs some guidelines in their repertoire for adjusting TLVs® for the pregnant worker when there is little to no reproductive and developmental toxicity data available.

Results: This paper provides some guidance for meeting those demands. Topics include: The TLVs® that already protect against reproductive and developmental effects. There are TLVs® that protect workers against other health effects but are believed to be low enough to protect against reproductive effects. Where no data is available, there are safety factors, equations/models, or other sources of information that can be used to assist in assessing occupational exposures during pregnancy.

Lessons Learned: Using the TLVs® as legislated criteria to be met does not always protect the worker. In order to adjust the TLVs® appropriately, a competent person/professional industrial hygienist is needed to do the research in order to find the best solution.


CS-403-09 GHS Classifications for Diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and Mixtures Containing These Chemicals

R. Niemeier, A. Hubbs, K. Kreiss, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH

Situation/Problem: In 2012, OSHA revised the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling (GHS) of chemicals. This revised HCS standard provides criteria for hazard classification, new label elements (pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, and precautionary statements), and a standardized safety data sheet (SDS) format. The previously available GHS classifications for diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione do not reflect the hazard data available and presented in the soon to be finalized NIOSH criteria document, Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione.

Resolution: Using the criteria outlined in the HCS, NIOSH has provided, for the first time for any substances, GHS classifications for diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. These classifications were based on the human health and animal toxicology data, and exposure monitoring data provided in the criteria document. Importantly, NIOSH also provided guidance for the classification and labeling of mixtures containing diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. Draft GHS classifications were published for peer and public review in early 2014.

Results: Several GHS classifications were proposed for these chemicals, and NIOSH also demonstrated that exposures over the recommended exposure limits (RELs) for these chemicals could still occur if the cut-off values for mixtures in the GHS criteria were applied. NIOSH recommended that mixtures containing diacetyl or 2,3-pentanedione at any concentration that could generate vapors exceeding the NIOSH RELs should provide the necessary classifications on product labels and SDSs.

Lessons Learned: GHS classifications that represent the current scientific understand of diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione are important for the health protection of flavoring manufacturing workers. In addition, the incorporation of occupational exposure data should be considered when determining GHS classifications for hazardous chemicals that are present in mixtures. In the case of diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, the sole reliance on prescribed cut-off values for hazardous chemicals in mixtures would not have provided hazard communication guidance that was health protective for workers.


SR-403-10 Polish Recommendation on OEL for Methotrexate

M. Dobecka, S. Czerczak, Nofer Institut of Occupational Medicine, Łódz, Poland

Objective: In 2013, The Group of Experts for Chemical Agents (GECA), working in the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Poland proposed a health based Maximum Admissible Concentrations value (MAC) for methotrexate (MTX).

Methods: The limit value for methotrexate was based on the review of the recent global literature, databases, reports, and documentation of use of the substance as anticancer, antipsoriatic and RA drug.

Results: To determine the MAC value for MTX,  the following considerations were taken into account: methotrexate causes non-threshold genotoxic effects that can occur at any level of exposure; determination of the dose-response curve is not possible on the basis of data in humans as well as by extrapolating the results of animal studies; and MTX manufacturers’ established MTX occupational exposure limits at the level of 0.0003 - 0.0025 mg/m3.

Conclusions: Analysis of available literature data to assess the health risk showed that on the basis of the dangerous drugs classification (IPCS, NIOSH, ASHP, IACP) methotrexate should have a value of permissible occupational exposure level of <0.01 mg/m3. This value was taken as the basis for determining the MAC value and used arbitrarily uncertainty factor equal to 10, taking into account the effects of distant resulting from MTX (ie. genotoxicity and reproductive toxicity in humans), both fertility and development of the offspring. It is proposed to adopt a limit value for the inhalable fraction of methotrexate at the level of 0.001 mg/m3. Determination of the limit value in the work environment for MTX imposes on employers the obligation to monitor the concentration of the chemotherapeutic agent in the work environment and will allow the assessment of the actual exposure of medical staff to the substance.


CS-403-11 Can Health and Safety and Art Co-exist? Integrating Health and Safety Practices at an Art Museum

S. Deike, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

Situation/Problem: Art museums share many standard hazards with other workplaces, such as toxic chemicals, materials handling and working at heights. But working with art, in its many forms, from traditional paintings and sculptures to modern and contemporary pieces featuring electronics or robotics, and even participative and performance art during special events, often presents unique challenges that require non-standard solutions. For example, substituting less toxic paints for conserving art may not be possible as they may not match the original work. Similarly, using a sling and hoist to move a delicate and valuable sculpture may not be prudent.

Resolution: The successful integration of a health and safety program requires learning about the art museum environment, operations and business. It also requires identification and collaboration with key stakeholders, such as such as Curatorial, Conservation, Facilities, Protection Services and Finance departments, who have responsibilities for the art, building, visitors, and the business. Often materials, activities, and processes that may be problematic for health and safety reasons, may also be of concern to other departments and may be introduced by visitors. For example, permitting visitors to wear “skate shoes” in the gallery, could result in injuries, art damage and marked floors. However, banning them without providing notice or making temporary substitutes available may result in loss of revenue. Similarly, electronic cigarettes, could cause health issues for staff and visitors, could damage art, and could result in fires.

Results: A checklist was developed by Health & Safety, Conservation and Facilities to assist other departments in flagging materials and activities that require further consideration. Training on health and safety in live performance and special events was provided. The Education department now hosts regular planning meetings to inform other departments of upcoming activities so issues can be raised and resolved well in advance.

Lessons Learned: Art museums may require different solutions to common workplace hazards. Visitors often introduce hazards to the environment. By working collaboratively, it is often possible to develop sound solutions that are acceptable to all Gallery departments as well as visitors.


CS-403-12 Incorporation of Newer Risk Assessment Approaches into Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemicals: The Workplace Environmental Exposure Level (WEEL) Model

M. Deveau, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; P. Owens, Shell Oil Company, Martinez, CA; K. Still, Portland State University, Portland, OR; S. Barnett Bucherl, pH2, LLC, Indianapolis, IN

Situation/Problem: Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) exist for only a minor fraction of the chemicals in commerce. For chemicals with sufficient toxicological data to generate OELs, a small pool of experts limits the development of consensus-based values. Moreover, older OELs might not be based on recent data or risk assessment approaches.

Resolution: The Occupational Alliance for Risk Science (OARS) Workplace Environmental Exposure Level (WEEL) committee has a goal of promoting worker health by developing credible OELs. OARS-WEEL activities include the development of new OELs for chemicals with limited exposure guidance, and the updating of existing—but potentially outdated—WEELs. Recent WEEL assessments have considered incorporation of more advanced risk assessment approaches, including benchmark dose (BMD) modeling, physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling, mode of action (MOA) analysis, quantitative cancer risk assessments, and identification of sensitizing compounds.

Results: Many new or updated WEELs have been assessed, of which a few have been finalized and made publicly available. Recent assessments have considered BMD and PBPK modeling and MOA analysis. Moreover, formal guidance to supplement existing Administrative Operational Procedures are in various stages of development for these approaches and others, including low dose cancer assessments and identification of dermal and inhalation sensitizers. Because these approaches are more complex than those used in traditional OEL-development processes, each will be described within the context of proposed or finalized WEELs, to help industrial hygienists better understand the basis of newer WEEL values.

Lessons Learned: Incorporation of more advanced risk assessment approaches into OELs can present challenges, as they can be more difficult to understand and apply than simpler traditional approaches. These approaches are not incorporated into all WEELs, due to data limitations or the absence of a specific need for some compounds; however, where they have been incorporated, they can increase confidence in the relevance of the WEEL to occupational exposure scenarios. Moving forward, finalizing formal guidance for each of the approaches should increase the consistency in their application in WEELs. The outcome of this work is expected to promote worker health through increased access to high quality OELs.


SR-403-13 Airborne Concentrations of Naturally Occurring Diacetyl Associated with Various Coffee Products

A. Abelmann, S. Gaffney, A. Urban, M. Liong, L. McCarthy, D. Hollins, Cardno ChemRisk, Chicago, IL; K. Unice, Cardno ChemRisk, Pittsburgh, PA; J. Henshaw, Cardno ChemRisk, Sanibel, FL; B. Finley, Cardno ChemRisk, Brooklyn, NY

Objective: Recently, some scientists have suggested that occupational exposures to diacetyl in the food and flavoring industries have been associated with impaired respiratory function in some workers. Diacetyl also occurs naturally in various consumer products, including roasted coffee beans. Previously, we showed that large-scale coffee processing is associated with exposures to naturally occurring diacetyl that exceed various occupational exposure limits (OELs) recommended by the ACGIH and proposed by NIOSH. Exposures exceeded short-term OELs (0.020–0.025 ppm), however, it could be reasonably expected that 8-hr OELs (0.005–0.010 ppm) could be exceeded as well. Because there is a paucity of data for non-occupational exposures related to handling or consuming coffee products, we conducted a series of studies to characterize the potential for various coffee products to release naturally occurring diacetyl in other settings.

Methods: We conducted two separate laboratory tests to study the container headspace concentrations associated with 1) whole bean and ground coffee, and 2) brewed coffee. Samples for whole bean and ground coffee were collected from a static headspace concentration in a sealed syringe. For the second study, coffee was brewed in standard coffee maker, transferred to a stainless steel cup with a lid and sampling port, from which samples were extracted with a syringe. Two types of coffee were evaluated in each study: locally roasted, as well as a common product purchased at a supermarket.

Results: The mean concentrations of diacetyl in the container headspace of whole bean, ground coffee, and brewed coffee were 2.7, 3.7, and 0.57 ppm, respectively. Coffee that was ground on site from whole beans was generally associated with higher concentrations of diacetyl.

Conclusions: The measured container headspace concentrations compared well to the concentrations expected based on chemical partitioning analysis for typical naturally occurring diacetyl concentrations in coffee. The results of this series of studies, combined with results that have previously been published, indicate a potential for human exposure to naturally occurring diacetyl at levels that may exceed workplace OELs when coffee products are typically handled and consumed. Further research should be conducted to investigate magnitude of potential human exposures.


SR-403-14 Pilot Study of Exposures to Airborne Concentrations of Naturally Occurring Diacetyl during Coffee Consumption

L. Spicer, J. Lotter, C. Comerford, A. Abelmann, J. Pierce, Cardno ChemRisk, Chicago, IL; B. Finley, Cardno ChemRisk, Brooklyn, NY

Objective: Over the past ten years, airborne exposures to diacetyl have been suspected by some scientists as being a possible cause of lung damage in workers in the food and flavoring manufacturing industry, where it was used as an additive. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has yet to regulate diacetyl exposures, several occupational exposure limits (OELs) for diacetyl have been proposed or recommended. NIOSH proposed an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) recommended exposure limit (REL) of 0.005 ppm, with a 15 minute short term exposure limit (STEL) of 0.025 ppm. Similarly, ACGIH adopted an eight-hour TWA and 15 minute STEL Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) of 0.01 ppm and 0.02 ppm, respectively. Most recently, the European Commission published a draft diacetyl OEL of 0.02 ppm as an eight-hour TWA and 0.1 ppm as a 15-minute STEL. Diacetyl also occurs naturally in a variety of consumer products, including beverages such as tea, coffee, beer, wine, milk and citrus juices. Limited data exist describing consumer exposures to naturally occurring diacetyl in common food products. An exposure simulation study was conducted to characterize potential inhalation exposures to naturally occurring diacetyl as a result of coffee consumption in an at-home setting.

Methods: Personal air samples were collected in the breathing zone of a subject during the grinding of whole, dark roast unflavored coffee beans and subsequent brewing and consumption of coffee. Two cups of coffee were consumed in 1 hour. Four short-term (15 minute) and two long-term (60 minute) samples were collected on the left and right sides of the study subject’s head. Additionally, one sample was collected in the headspace of a pot of freshly brewed coffee. Samples were analyzed for diacetyl in accordance with OSHA Method 1012.

Results: The mean concentration of diacetyl based on 60-minute samples was 0.0015 ppm. The headspace concentration of the coffee pot was 0.12 ppm. All concentrations based on short-term sampling were below the limit of detection (LOD) (<0.005 ppm).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that proposed OELs are similar to, and may be lower than, the airborne concentrations of naturally occurring diacetyl associated with the handling and consumption of coffee. Additional research is warranted to better characterize these consumer and related occupational (e.g., coffee shop workers) exposures.​