Beryllium May Be A Cancer Causing Element
An estimated eighteen thousand workers may be exposed to beryllium and beryllium oxide in the workplace. People working or living near beryllium industries have the greatest potential for exposure to beryllium, which can lead to Chronic Beryllium Disease, or other beryllium related illnesses. Lung damage has been observed in people exposed to high levels of beryllium in the air. About one to fifteen percent of all people occupationally exposed to beryllium in the air become sensitive to beryllium and may develop Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD).
Beryllium disease is a result of exposure to dust or fumes from beryllium metal, metal oxides, alloys, ceramics, or salts. Once you have been exposed to beryllium there is a lifelong risk of developing beryllium disease. Acute Beryllium Disease (ABD) is caused by breathing in relatively high concentrations of beryllium in dust and metal fumes. It usually has a quick onset and resembles pneumonia or bronchitis.
Chronic Beryllium Disease is an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling beryllium dust and fumes. Symptoms of Chronic Beryllium Disease are breathing difficulties, chest pain, coughing, and general weakness. Chronic Beryllium Disease can develop as late as thirty years after a person was last exposed to beryllium, though the average latency period is about eight to ten years. In some people, the disease progresses slowly, but in others it may cause respiratory problems much more rapidly.
If you have been exposed to beryllium there is a chance that you could have Acute Beryllium Disease (ABD) or Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD). It is important to notify your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms that may be caused by exposure to beryllium.
The following industrial processes use beryllium, or products that contain the metal, and may expose workers to beryllium:
- Beryllium metallurgy (production of beryllium metal and compounds)
- Dental plates manufacturing
- Die casting
- Extraction of beryllium (smelting and refining)
- Guidance and navigation systems manufacturing
- Nuclear applications
- Plastic molding
- Precision machining
- Rocket parts and heat shields
- Thermal castings
- Welding electrodes
- X-ray tube window manufacturing
If you have ever been exposed to Beryllium and have developed fatigue, shortness of breath, an unexplained cough, or a skin rash, you should inform your doctor of your past beryllium exposure and seek medical advice about your condition
Beryllium Information: Dr. Mercola 6/25/2005