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Today’s Holiday Hazardous Vapor is 2,3-pentanedione

Today’s Holiday Hazardous Vapor is 2,3-pentanedione, a flavor used in confections like chocolate & cookies and found naturally in freshly ground roasted coffee beans. Like diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione is thought to cause Bronchiolitis Obliterans (popcorn lung) - interestingly it smells a lot like butter. NIOSH recommends that worker exposure be kept below <9.3 PPB for an 8-hour workday. This exposure limit was set to be below the detection level of the analytical method used in the original studies. Our analytical methods are far more sensitive and allow it to be measured at a sensitivity similar to diacetyl, so we recommend that exposure be limited to 5 PPB for 8 h and 25 ppb for 15 min.

We use a method identical to that used for diacetyl to measure 2,3-pentanedione – we capture with Tenax-TA and analyze by thermal desorption GC-MS. I’ll be grinding some coffee at our local big box store soon, so I’ll be sure to measure my short-term exposure using our personal sampler and post the data. I buy 2.5 lbs bags and grind it for espresso using a big grinder at the store, so if this dione is present during the grinding I’ll detect it.

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