Protect Workers From Chemicals Linked to Dangerous Lung Disease

Target: Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Goal: Establish federal regulations to prevent high levels of toxic chemicals in coffee roasting facilities.

A federal investigation of two coffee roasting companies has found high levels of two extremely toxic chemicals that can cause a deadly lung disease. These chemicals are naturally created and released into the air during the roasting and grinding of coffee beans. With a workforce of approximately 600,000 people in the U.S., it is essential that regulations be created to protect employees involved in the production and sale of coffee.

Diacetyl and acetylpropionyl are two chemicals that have been determined as safe to ingest in trace amounts, but can be extremely deadly when inhaled in large quantities. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to a deadly lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which causes airways in the lungs to constrict. According to the recent investigation carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the concentration of these chemicals in breathing areas of the two coffee roasteries was well above safety recommendations, creating an extreme health hazard for employees.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that we have already seen how dangerous these chemicals can be. The presence of unhealthy amounts of diacetyl in popcorn production facilities led to the deaths of many employees in the early 2000s. It is very apparent that the presence of these two chemicals in coffee-roasting facilities poses an imminent threat to the health of thousands of U.S. workers. Please sign the below petition to demand that the NIOSH immediately establish federal regulations to ensure all coffee production facilities are safe places to work.


Dear Dr. Howard,

I am writing to request that you and NIOSH take immediate action to establish federal regulations to protect employees working in the coffee production industry. A recent study of the air in two coffee roasting facilities discovered unsafe levels of two chemicals linked to a dangerous lung disease. With one of these chemicals already responsible for the deaths of many workers in the popcorn industry in the early 2000s, it is essential that the findings of this study not be taken lightly. Federal regulations must be put in place to ensure the safety of thousands of workers.

Diacetyl and acetylpropionyl are the two very dangerous chemicals that have been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, a devastating lung disease that causes airways to be constricted due to fibrosis. While these chemicals have been found to be safe to eat in small quantities, it is known that inhaling them in large amounts can be deadly. The recent study found that the breathing areas of the two facilities tested contained well over the government’s safety recommendations for these two chemicals.

The presence of diacetyl and acetylpropionyl is likely common in most coffee production facilities as the compounds are naturally formed when coffee beans are roasted, and are emitted into the air when ground. With approximately 600,000 people working in the coffee industry, high levels of these chemicals in roasting facilities pose a major health concern. Please make every effort to determine and establish federal safety regulations for coffee production facilities in order to protect thousands of people from unsafe levels of these toxic chemicals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: kris krϋg

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

One Comment

  1. just make coffee vegan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


300 Signatures

  • S E
  • Karen Marcinczyk
  • Jan Brown
  • Ina Calvano
  • Eva Wathén
  • Eva Wathén
  • Natalie Simmonds
  • Christine Rodriguez
  • Debbie Harrison
  • Jane Williams
1 of 30123...30
Skip to toolbar