Benjamin Lisser is an honest working man employed with the coffee company Just Coffee Cooperative in Madison. Lisser was preparing to grind coffee beans when he was suited up with a vest that was fitted with a glass tube. The tube collects air samples that are in his breathing space. Researchers are collecting his air to test for diacetyl and 2-3 pentanedione. Both of these compounds are notorious for severely damaging lung capacity. The Journal Sentinel covered the story and detailed the risk that coffee roasters are put under from just doing an honest days work. The findings from many studies will be used to sit safety standards that will be put in place by the United States CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If these chemicals are found to be a problem for coffee roasters it could expose workers to serious and incurable lung diseases. The owner of the Madison Just Coffee cooperative has noted that he is cooperating with the CDC as much as possible. He wants to be hyper aware of what his business is doing to his employees and encourages other coffee roasting plant owners to do the same. Four competing roasting companies have opted out of letting the CDC sample there air. Sergio Cortes told me that they seemed unaffected by the fact that 5 workers in a Tyler, Texas roasting plant contracted debilitating lung diseases that were caused by the chemicals put in the air during the roasting process. More studies will be conducted and a list of dangers will be compiled for the CDC to adjust their standards accordingly.