Source: Labor Dept. plans new safety regulations

Monday, April 27, 2009 | 9:21 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — The Labor Department plans to propose new rules aimed at limiting exposure to a chemical that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor and preventing industrial dust accidents.

A labor official told The Associated Press that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is expected to announce details of the proposals tomorrow. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out.

New rules would protect workers from diacetyl, a popcorn flavoring chemical blamed for causing severe lung disease or other respiratory illnesses among hundreds of microwave popcorn plant workers who mixed large vats of flavors.

Numerous workers at a Jasper, Mo., microwave popcorn plant have either won verdicts or received settlements for health problems they say were caused by exposure to diacetyl.


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