Population-based risk of beryllium disease at a beryllium copper alloy plant.
Schuler-CR; Deubner-DC; Henneberger-PK; Kreiss-K
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001 Apr; 163(5)(2)(Suppl):A242
RATIONALE: Case reports of beryllium disease exist in persons exposed only to beryllium copper alloys with less than 2% beryllium content, but population-based risk in alloy plants remains unexplored. METHODS: At an alloy processing facility we screened 152 volunteers in a workforce of 184 (82.6%), using an interviewer administered questionnaire and split-sample blood beryllium lymphocyte proliferation testing (BeLPT) for beryllium sensitization. Workers with confirmed abnormal BeLPTs, at both testing laboratories or at a single laboratory, were offered clinical evaluation, including bronchoalveolar lavage and transbronchial lung biopsy for demonstration of lung granulomas. RESULTS: Eight workers (5.3%) had abnormal BeLPT results from two laboratories; four of whom (50%) were then determined to have beryllium disease, for a disease prevalence of 2.6% among the tested workers. An additional nine workers (5.9%) had two abnormal BeLPT results from a single laboratory; none of these workers was found to have beryllium disease. CONCLUSIONS: The 2.6% beryllium disease rate at this alloy plant is lower than rates observed at beryllium metal (4.2%) and ceramics (5.3%) plants, utilizing the same split-sampling screening methodology for beryllium sensitization. Comparable sensitization rates occurred at these three plants, despite substantial differences in historical beryllium exposures, but differences in abnormal test rates in the two laboratories may reflect quality performance issues.
Beryllium-compounds; Copper-compounds; Metals; Humans; Beryllium-disease; Statistical-analysis
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Abstracts of the American Thoracic Society 2001 International Conference, May 18-23, 2001, San Francisco, California