If you process coffee beans as your daily grind, it could be harmful to your lungs.
So cautions Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who found that workers who roast, scoop, weigh, grind or package coffee at commercial plants or java joints should pay close attention to their respiratory health.
CDC concerns stem from an agency report in August based on evaluations of respiratory health and exposure to airborne volatile coffee compounds, including diacetyl, associated with respiratory illness and disease. Diacetyl can be found in flavors, but also occurs naturally in coffeemaking.
Investigators followed workers at the Just Coffee Cooperative (JCC) roastery in Madison, Wis. JCC employees were found to have wheezing in their chests four times that of similar U.S. demographic populations.
Eye, nose, and sinus symptoms were the most commonly reported ones.
“Some employees reported their symptoms were caused or aggravated by ‘green coffee dust,’ chaff, roasted coffee, ground coffee dust, or odors from the heat sealing machine,” according to the report.
“Four times as many employees reported wheezing than expected,” noted investigators, who called the results statistically significant.
“We recommend a medical monitoring program to identify any employees who may be developing lung disease,” the report’s authors wrote.
The concerns don’t apply to people who grind and brew up a cup of joe for themselves each morning at home, noted USA Today, which first reported on the study.