Occupational Asthma Reference

van Rooy FGBGJ, Smit LAM, Houba R, Zaat VAC, Rooyackers JM, Heederik DJJ, A cross-sectional study of lung function and respiratory symptoms among chemical workers producing diacetyl for food flavourings, Occup Environ Med, 2009;66:105-110,

Keywords: bronchiolitis, diacetyl, epidemiology, cross sectional, FEV1

Known Authors

Dick Heederik, Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht Dick Heederik

Frits van Rooy, Utrecht University Frits van Rooy

Lidwien Smit, Utrecht University Lidwien Smit

If you would like to become a known author and have your picture displayed along with your papers then please get in touch from the contact page. Known authors can choose to receive emails when their papers receive comments.


Objectives: Four diacetyl workers were found to have bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Exposures, respiratory symptoms, lung function and exposure–response relationships were investigated.

Methods: 175 workers from a plant producing diacetyl between 1960 and 2003 were investigated. Exposure data were used to model diacetyl exposure. Lung function and questionnaire data on respiratory symptoms were compared to a general population sample and respiratory symptoms to an internal reference group.

Results: Workers were potentially exposed to acetoin, diacetyl, acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Historic diacetyl exposure ranged from 1.8 to 351 mg/m3, and from 3 to 396 mg/m3 for specific tasks. Diacetyl workers reported significantly more respiratory symptoms compared to the general population sample (continuous trouble with breathing (prevalence ratio (PR) = 2.6; 95% CI 1.3 to 5.1), daily cough (PR = 1.5; 95% CI 1.1 to 2.1), asthma attack (ever) (PR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.2 to 3.4), doctor diagnosed asthma (PR = 2.2; 95% CI 1.3 to 3.8) and asthma attack in the last year (PR = 4.7; 95% CI 1.9 to 11.4)) and to a minimally exposed internal reference group (ever trouble with breathing (PR = 2.8; 95% CI 1.1 to 7.0) and work-related shortness of breath in the last year (PR = 7.5; 95% CI 1.1 to 52.9)). Lung function did not differ between groups. A positive relationship between exposure and FEV1 was found.

Conclusion: The excess of respiratory symptoms in this retrospective cohort suggests that diacetyl production poses an occupational hazard. Limited historical exposure data did not support a quantitative individual diacetyl exposure–response relationship, but our findings suggest that preventive measures are prudent.

Full Text

Full text of this reference not available

Please Log In or Register to add the full text to this reference


thanks sir

Please sign in or register to add your thoughts.

Oasys and occupational asthma smoke logo