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Risk of beryllium disease among short-term and long-term workers at a metal, oxide, and alloy production plant.
Schuler CR; Deubner DC; Day GA; Henneberger PK; Kreiss K
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003 Apr; 167(7):A680
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.
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
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Issue of Publication
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2003 International Conference, The American Thoracic Society, Seattle, WA, May 16-21, 2003
Page last reviewed: September 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division