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Risk of beryllium disease among short-term and long-term workers at a metal, oxide, and alloy production plant.

Authors
Schuler-CR; Deubner-DC; Day-GA; Henneberger-PK; Kreiss-K
Source
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003 Apr; 167(7):A680
NIOSHTIC No.
20023077
Abstract
Workers at a beryllium facility producing metal, oxide and alloys were screened for beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) in 1993-94. Anew survey was conducted in 1999 to determine whether disease prevalence had changed since the earlier survey. Workers not previously known to have CBD were asked to provide a blood sample for beryllium lymphocyte proliferation testing (BeLPT) and complete a medical & work history questionnaire. Beryllium sensitization was defined as 2 or more abnormal BeLPTs; sensitized workers were offered clinical evaluation for CBD. The workforce was subdivided as follows: long-term workers (LTWs) were screened in 1993-94; short-term workers (STWs) were hired after earlier screening. 731 of 808 eligible workers (90%) participated, including 452 of 502 LTWs (90%) and 279 of 306 STWs (91 %). Overall prevalence of sensitization was 11% (78/731), with similar proportions for LTWs (11 %,49/452) and STWs (10%, 29/279). 31 of the 78 sensitized were diagnosed with CBD (40%) for an overall CBD prevalence of 4% (31/731). LTWs were more likely to have CBD (6%,25/452) compared to STWs (2%,6/279). When health outcome data for LTWs from the 2 surveys were summed the prevalences of sensitization (18%) and disease (8%) were twice that observed in the 1993-94 cross-sectional study. Results indicate that levels of sensitization & CBD had not changed, despite significant engineering controls implemented after earlier survey. Differences between LTWs & STWs in CBD prevalence suggest that disease takes more time or greater cumulative lung burden to develop. Longitudinal surveillance is required to fully assess disease burden in beryllium workers.
Keywords
Beryllium-compounds; Beryllium-disease; Workers; Metal-industry; Metal-industry-workers; Metal-oxides; Metals; Oxides; Sensitization; Questionnaires; Blood-samples; Lung-burden; Heavy-metals; Heavy-metal-poisoning
CODEN
AJCMED
CAS No.
7440-41-7
Publication Date
20030401
Document Type
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
2003
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
7
ISSN
1073-449X
NIOSH Division
DRDS
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2003 International Conference, The American Thoracic Society, Seattle, WA, May 16-21, 2003
State
WV; OH
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