Job-related risk of beryllium disease at a beryllium copper alloy facility.
Schuler-CD; Deubner-DC; McCawley-M; Berakis-MT; Kent-MS; Henneberger-PK; Kreiss-K
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002 Apr; 165(8)(Suppl):A49
We examined the relationship between work processes and sensitization to beryllium and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) at a beryllium copper alloy plant. At the time of the survey 185 persons were employed, and 83% (153) participated. Prevalence of the sensitization with abnormal results from 2 different testing labs was 7% (10/153), and 6 of the sensitized were found to have CBD (4%). An additional 9 had multiple abnormal results from a single testing lab; none was diagnosed with CBD. Possible problems at the latte lab during the survey period made interpretation of results difficult; prevalence of sensitization may have been as high as 12%. Results herein for sensitization refer to workers with abnormal results from 2 labs. Workers who had CBD were more likely to have worked at jobs in the rod and wire production area of the plant; these jobs included: pickling & annealing (10% ever worked, p=.05), bull blocks (14%, p=.07). No jobs in strip operations or the non-production categories of administration, mechanical maintenance, or support services conferred greater risk for either CBD or sensitization. Most had worked multiple jobs, both within and between the major production areas of rod & wire and strip, reducing the utility or job- and area-level categories. Beryllium air samples for the period 1987-1999 indicate that almost all (97%) samples were below the OSHA permissible exposure limit of 2 ug/m3 represented 7.4% of all samples taken from pickling and annealing in rod & wire mill, compared to 1.7% of all samples from the rest of the plant (p<.001). In summary, much of the risk for sensitization and CBD at this facility appears to reside in 1 of the 2 main production areas.
Worker-health; Workers; Beryllium-disease; Beryllium-compounds; Beryllium-poisoning; Sensitization; Air-samples
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2002 International Conference, The American Thoracic Society, Atlanta Georgia, May 17-22, 2002