Company Takes Steps to Eliminate Chronic Beryllium Disease

Brush Wellman has launched an information Web site to serve as a resource about beryllium and chronic beryllium disease.

Engineered materials manufacturer, Brush Wellman Inc., in Cleveland launched an information Web site this week to serve as a resource about beryllium and chronic beryllium disease.

The site, www.befacts.com presents a timeline of events relating to the understanding of beryllium's occupational health effects over a 56-year period that included the Cold War years.

"It demonstrates decade by decade that Brush Wellman has been in the forefront of every major effort to identify and eliminate the hazards of beryllium exposure since those hazards were first identified in the United States in 1943," said Gordon D. Harnett, chairman and chief executive officer of Brush Wellman.

The steps the company has taken to tighten workplace practices at its plants to minimize inhalation and skin absorption of beryllium are also included on the site.

Examples of information available on the site include the following.

  • A definition of beryllium, its unique characteristics and its critical uses in society.
  • A Frequently Asked Questions section and a glossary of terms.
  • Biographical profiles on the individuals who comprise the Beryllium Industry Scientific Advisory Committee.
  • The latest findings pertaining to beryllium's effects on worker health as presented to the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists in September 1999.

"This site is our sincere effort to show the public that we have worked for more than five decades to lead the way to higher workplace standards, aimed at protecting the health of all the men and women," said Harnett.

Chronic beryllium disease, or CBD, may occur in the manufacture of metallic beryllium, beryllium oxide ceramic, or alloys containing beryllium.

It is an inflammation in the lungs that can result when a person is exposed to respirable beryllium fumes, dusts or powder, an subsequently demonstrates an allergic reaction to beryllium.

Not everyone exposed to beryllium fumes, dusts or powder will develop CBD; most people do not.

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