Publications : 2010

Maier A, Kohrman-Vincent M, Parker A, Haber LT. 2010. Evaluation of concentration-response options for diacetyl in support of occupational risk assessment. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 58(2):285–296.


The current emphasis on occupational exposures to diacetyl has led to new research on its effects. We evaluated whether the data are sufficient to support a transition from a hazard-based risk management approach to a quantitative occupational risk assessment approach, characterized by developing a health-based occupational exposure limit (OEL). Inhalation health effects data were evaluated and issues and uncertainties related to occupational risk assessment needs were identified. A systematic hazard characterization, supported by both the toxicology and epidemiology literature, showed that the respiratory tract effects of diacetyl are the primary end points of relevance for developing an OEL. In an effort to provide a systematic approach for the analysis of the issues that need to be considered in developing an occupational risk assessment for diacetyl, a potential OEL was derived. A concentration–response assessment was completed using tracheobronchial effects in mice as the critical effect. The resulting benchmark concentration (lower bound estimate or BMCL) was adjusted to a human equivalent concentration of 1.8 ppm. A composite uncertainty factor of 10 was recommended to account for extrapolation from an adjusted BMCL from an animal study and for human variability in sensitivity and taking into account other uncertainties in the overall database. The resulting OEL recommendation of 0.2 ppm as a time-weighted average (TWA) was supported by the current occupational epidemiology literature. This evaluation showed that a health-based OEL value can be derived for diacetyl with moderate to high confidence.