Long-Term Efficacy of a Program to Prevent Beryllium Disease

Authors

  • Carrie A. Thomas PhD,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David C. Deubner MD, MPH,

    1. Materion Brush, Inc., Elmore, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marcia L. Stanton,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kathleen Kreiss MD,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christine R. Schuler PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia
    • Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Field Studies Branch, 1095 Willowdale Road, MS 2800, Morgantown, WV 26505. E-mail: cschuler@cdc.gov

    Search for more papers by this author

  • Disclosure Statement: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • One of the authors (DCD) is employed by Materion Brush, Inc., a manufacturer and global supplier of beryllium and beryllium-containing materials. This study was conducted under a Memorandum of Understanding between Materion Brush, Inc., and NIOSH, signed in 1998 and renewed to the present. This work was performed under a Memorandum of Understanding between MBI and NIOSH. NIOSH provided all funding and had final approval over the design, implementation, analysis, and final report. MBI provided a list of eligible employees to be contacted by NIOSH, and current workers who agreed to participate did so during paid work hours. MBI participated in the design, implementation, analysis, and final report.

Abstract

Background

In 2000, a manufacturer of beryllium materials and products introduced a comprehensive program to prevent beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD). We assessed the program's efficacy in preventing sensitization 9 years after implementation.

Methods

Current and former workers hired since program implementation completed questionnaires and provided blood samples for the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). Using these data, as well as company medical surveillance data, we estimated beryllium sensitization prevalence.

Results

Cross-sectional prevalence of sensitization was 0.7% (2/298). Combining survey results with surveillance results, a total of seven were identified as sensitized (2.3%). Early Program workers were more likely to be sensitized than Late Program workers; one of the latter was newly identified. All sensitization was identified while participants were employed. One worker was diagnosed with CBD during employment.

Conclusions

The combination of increased respiratory and dermal protection, enclosure and improved ventilation of high-risk processes, dust migration control, improved housekeeping, and worker and management education showed utility in reducing sensitization in the program's first 9 years. The low rate (0.6%, 1/175) among Late Program workers suggests that continuing refinements have provided additional protection against sensitization compared to the program's early years. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:733–741, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary