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SB 456: Diacetyl Prohibition (2007)


This bill bans the manufacture, processing or distribution of diacetyl as of June 1, 2008.  The Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) may grant a temporary waiver if certain conditions are met.

Final Status and Text

SB 456 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Did not pass the Legislature

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

By banning Diacetyl, SB 456 will protect California workers and consumers from exposure to a known toxic chemical.  Diacetyl is an artificial flavoring that is mixed with other ingredients to produce a butter-like flavor in a variety of food products. It is used in hundreds of consumer products, including, but not limited to, microwave popcorn, pancake syrup, cakes, candies, and frozen foods.

Exposure to diacetyl vapors has been associated with constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung”, a severe and potentially fatal lung disease that causes inflammation and scarring in the small airways of the lungs which leads to severe impairment of lung function.  Most cases do not respond to medical treatment and can only be cured by lung transplant.  In the last year, the California Department of Health Services has identified 8 confirmed cases of workers in California who have contracted bronchiolitis obliterans or other lung obstructive illnesses due to diacetyl exposure and is currently investigating 10 additional cases. The eight confirmed cases which DHS has investigated were between the ages of 29 and 49, had no known history of smoking, and reported that the onset of symptoms occurred between one month and several years after initial exposure to diacetyl.  In the United States, it is estimated, that there are thousands of people who have been stricken with this illness and may not even know that they were exposed to this chemical.

No safe exposure level has been determined by either state or federal governmental entities by which mitigation measures can be developed and implemented. 

The California Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) is currently conducting advisory meetings concerning the use of this chemical.