Study Strengthens Link between Diacetyl and Lung Disease

A recent study conducted by scientists at the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, evaluated the respiratory toxicity of diacetyl in mice at exposure profiles relevant to workplace conditions at microwave popcorn packaging plants. Diacetyl, a component of artificial butter flavoring, is a potential etiological agent of obliterative bronchiolitis (OB); however, the toxic dose and mechanisms of toxicity remain controversial. The scientists found that “depending on the route and duration of exposure, diacetyl causes significant epithelial injury, peribronchial lymphocytic inflammation, or fibrohistiocytic lesions in the terminal bronchioles. Collectively these results indicate that clinically relevant diacetyl exposures result in a pattern of injury that replicates features of human OB.” (D. Morgan, G. Flake, P. Kirby and S. Palmer, Respiratory Toxicity of Diacetyl in C57B1/6 Mice, Toxicological Sciences, DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfn016)
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