April 20, 2024

According to the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH), employees exposed to solutions, mists, fumes, and particles from beryllium can develop CBD (chronic beryllium disease), beryllium sensitization, dangerous respiratory illness, and disabling disease.

The illnesses may affect various organs and tissues depending on how employees get exposed to beryllium. Breathing dust, solutions, mists, or fumes containing berylliums can injure your lungs. Although illness of the lungs is more common, beryllium can also impact other organs, including the lymphatic system, nervous system, heart, and kidney.

According to experts at UEW Healthcare, getting into contact with solid beryllium won’t impact your health. But direct contact with its dust or fumes can injure exposed parts of your body, including the skin or the eyes.

What Beryllium Is

This metal is used to manufacture many things, including electrical equipment, golf clubs, computers, and cars. Beryllium is non-magnetic, light, and a great conductor of electricity and heat, explaining why it is commonly used globally.

Why It Is Dangerous to Workers

Employees in sectors where beryllium is can be exposed to it by contacting or inhaling fumes or dust of the metal on the surface and in the air. Contacting or inhaling mists, solutions, or fumes of the metal may result in the immune response that makes a person sensitive to beryllium.

People who are sensitive to this metal are at great risk of getting a lung disease referred to as CBD when inhaling fumes of beryllium. In addition, workers who are exposed can get other advanced health issues, like lung cancer and acute beryllium disease.

CBD as a Long-Term Effect

Chronic or long-term health effects may take many years to develop once exposed to beryllium and can greatly affect individuals exposed to the metal. In other cases, chronic beryllium disease has been diagnosed in a few former office employees and other people who had incidental and brief exposure to the metal.

The disease often occurs in people sensitive or allergic to the metal upon exposure. While current medical programs for surveillance are identifying many people who are just sensitized, most individuals already had CBD before they were evaluated for lung symptoms and beryllium sensitization.

Medical Surveillance

This surveillance is important to detect and eliminate any underlying cause of observed health impacts from hazards. A medical surveillance program contributes greatly to the success of safety and health programs in the workplace by simply identifying areas with problems and verifying the effectiveness of prevention programs and existing controls.

Treatment

If your doctor has detected loss of lung function, treatment will involve taking corticosteroids, which minimize inflammation. If it is successful, this treatment will slow down CBD progress by minimizing scar tissue buildup. However, some people don’t respond well to this treatment.

A patient with CBD and other health problems related to beryllium will need to visit their doctor once or twice a year. During your visit, make sure you have exercise tolerance tests and pulmonary function tests. This way, you will determine whether your lungs find it difficult to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen.

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