Beryllium sensitization and disease among workers in a ceramics plant.
Henneberger-PK; Cumro-D; Deubner-D; Kent-MS; McCawley-MA; Kreiss-K
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001 Apr; 163(5)(2)(Suppl):A242
Rationale: Workers in a beryllium ceramics plant were screened for beryllium sensitization and disease in 1998, six years after a similar plant-wide screening in 1992. Methods: All current workers were invited to complete a questionnaire, to provide blood for the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT), and to receive diagnostic follow-up in the event of a positive BeLPT. Beryllium disease was defined as a positive bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) BeLPT and/or characteristic granulomas on lung biopsy. Results: With the exclusion of one person who had a BeLPT+ finding in the 1992 screening, there were 150 participants. Fourteen (9.3%) were BeLPT+, and follow-up revealed 8 (5.3%) had beryllium disease. The proportion sensitized was about the same for both the 74 short-term workers (7/74=9.5%) hired since the 1992 survey and the 76 long-term workers (7/76=9.2%) hired before the 1992 survey. The 7 sensitized short-term workers had been hired within the past two years and only one had beryllium disease. The 7 sensitized long-term workers had been hired at least 8 years earlier and all had beryllium disease. Machinists had been at higher risk for sensitization in the 1992 survey, and this was still evident in the current study among long-term workers (6/39=15%) but not short-term workers (2/36=6%). Conclusions: The findings suggest that beryllium sensitization can occur after a short period of exposure, but beryllium disease requires a longer latency or period of exposure. The apparent improvement among machinists might be due to exposure control efforts implemented after the 1992 survey.
Beryllium-disease; Beryllium-poisoning; Ceramics-industry; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Lung-irritants; Sensitivity-testing
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Abstracts of the American Thoracic Society 2001 International Conference, May 18-23, 2001, San Francisco, California