Before Your Next Double Tall Latte…..

Reports of the health benefits of coffee seem to grow every day…..if you’re drinking it. But if you’re working around coffee – well, that’s a different story. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report suggests that people who spend their day roasting, grinding, packing, and serving coffee may be at risk for lung disease.

From the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

A warning for coffee workers in roasting factories and corner cafes across the country: keep your face away from the bins of roasted beans.

That’s the latest word from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is examining the health hazards faced by some 600,000 people nationwide……The agency is conducting tests at about a dozen facilities across the country in the wake of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation that exposed how a naturally occurring chemical endangers coffee workers. The agency’s first test results, from a midsize roasting facility in Wisconsin, found extremely high levels of two lung-destroying chemicals in the roasting bins.

According to a story in the Seattle Times, CDC researchers “took air samples to measure the concentration of the chemicals diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione. Diacetyl has been tied to the deadly lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as “popcorn lung” for its association with the many illnesses suffered by microwave-popcorn workers in the early 2000s. The chemical’s molecular cousin, 2,3-pentanedione, has shown equal toxicity in animal studies.”

Inhaling those chemicals can be a health hazard. John Howard, Director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a research arm of the CDC, was quoted in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as saying – ““There’s a large number of workers and the harm is really severe.”

There are countless coffee shops and local roasters all over Arizona. So this new research begs the question – is this something we should be concerned about in our state? Let us know what you think. Generating these types of health related conversations are key to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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