House Democrats move to protect popcorn plant workers

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - House Democrats have moved to protect popcorn plant workers from exposure to a flavoring chemical linked to a lung ailment.

Their legislation gives federal safety regulators three months to limit workers' exposure to diacetyl. The lawmakers say further delay could cost lives.

Currently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set no standard on diacetyl. The Bush administration and House Republicans think the Democrats' bill is premature and favor more study by OSHA.

Diacetyl occurs naturally in foods such as butter, cheese and fruits. The concern is when workers inhale it in manufacturing settings.

In a number of lawsuits, workers who were exposed to diacetyl have linked the chemical to cases of a rare life-threatening disease often called popcorn lung.

Posted by PJS