Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Frank Wolf Bad for Your Health: Part II (Popcorn Edition)

There are many examples of how Rep. Frank Wolf is bad on health care issues -- "bad for your health," so to speak. Now, we've got another one. On September 26, Wolf voted against the "Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act," which passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly (260-154) despite Wolf's opposition. The bill, H.R. 2693, would "direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] to issue a standard regulating worker exposure to diacetyl." What is diacetyl and why does it matter? Here is a good explanation:
Dozens of workers around the country have developed the debilitating lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn workers lung,” and other respiratory illnesses from exposure to vapors from diacetyl, a component of artificial butter flavor used in microwave popcorn and many other food products.


On July 26th, 2006, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters petitioned OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from diacetyl and to begin the process of protecting workers from other hazardous flavoring chemicals. Unions also petitioned Cal-OSHA (the state equivalent of the federal agency) to take these steps.

Why would Frank Wolf oppose protecting workers against lung diseases from job-related hazardous chemical exposure? I guess you'd have to ask Wolf, because I can't think of any good reason whatsoever. You might also want to ask Wolf why 47 Republicans -- but not Wolf -- voted "yea" on this one. What, is there a big popcorn industry in the 10th district that none of us knew about? Did Orville Redenbacher move to Virginia recently or what? Maybe Frank Wolf has some answers. You can contact him at (202) 225-5136, (800) 850-3463, (800) 945-9653, or here. It will be interesting to hear what's "popping" in Frank Wolf's head on this one.

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