What Is Diacetyl?
- Diacetyl can be classified as a naturally occurring as well as a man-made chemical compound in specific foods and food processes. In the flavoring industry, diacetyl is commonly used to mimic the texture, smell, and taste of butter.
- Diacetyl is used as a component part of an ingredient of generally complex flavoring recipes that are used to artificially flavor beverages, foods, e-juices or vaping juice. It is important to note here that any form of processed flavoring that comes with a buttery taste or note as part of its flavor profile is likely to include diacetyl.
- Electronic cigarettes, commonly called e-cigarettes, with popular flavors such as bubble gum, cotton candy, and many others often contain harmful chemical flavorings including diacetyl. Heating of and inhaling dangerous chemicals like diacetyl can result in a lung condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans.
- Diacetyl-related health complications have been noticed in the popcorn and pet food manufacturing industry.
- Diacetyl also occurs naturally in unflavored coffee as a byproduct of the coffee bean roasting process. Commercial beans’ roasting and grinding can release diacetyl along with other volatile compounds into the air at the workplace. Diacetyl along with 2, 3-pentanedione is also added in the flavored coffee production process.
Health Effects After Exposure To Diacetyl
It is widely believed that diacetyl as a flavoring agent is generally safe to eat. It is potentially hazardous when heated up and inhaled during the manufacturing of the food products, or when vaping. Exposure to this dangerous chemical can result in a wide range of negative health effects, such as:
- Eyes, nose, and throat: The vapors of diacetyl can burn or sting the eyes. It can also result in your throat and nose to feel sore, scratchy, or burning. Diacetyl can result in damage to the smallest airways of the lungs which can make you cough and feel short of breath.
- Lungs: Symptoms usually include shortness of breath when being active, a dry cough, and wheezing. The condition bronchiolitis obliterans is commonly referred to as “popcorn lung” because so many workers in the popcorn manufacturing industry were diagnosed with it.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: A study that was published by researchers at the University of Minnesota through the Chemical Research in Toxicology Journal revealed that intake of diacetyl on a regular basis can influence the buildup of beta amyloid proteins in the brain that is usually considered as one of the primary contributing factors to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are someone who regularly works in or enters areas where flavoring ingredients could possibly be inhaled, it is highly suggested that you should monitor your overall health, especially your lungs. Make sure you engage in safety measures while working to avoid exposure. If you were already affected by your exposure to this chemical, you can contact an attorney to see if there is potential for a lawsuit against your organization.