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Adv Food Nutr Res. 2009;55:163-92. doi: 10.1016/S1043-4526(08)00403-8.

Lung disease in flavoring and food production: learning from butter flavoring.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA.


Workers in the food industry are exposed to multiple respiratory hazards that include irritants, allergens, and substances capable of causing destruction and scarring of the lungs. Cases of constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe potentially disabling lung disease, have been identified in workers exposed to flavorings. Workplace engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection can minimize potential exposures. Medical surveillance of workers exposed to known respiratory hazards will help to identify disease early, facilitate the prompt removal of workers from the causative exposure(s), and prevent further worsening and/or permanence of disease. When companies or employees suspect occupational respiratory disease, they can involve public health agencies to investigate any excess risk of lung disease, risk factors among processes and exposures, and effectiveness of interventions, if needed.

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