Testimony to Department Of Labor (Beryllium)
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Testimony to Department Of Labor (Beryllium)

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    Public hearing on the occupational standard for beryllium, statement of Edward J. Baier, Deputy Director, NIOSH. A public statement on the effects of occupational exposure to beryllium (7440417) (Be) is reviewed. The statement, made in connection with hearings on the adoption of a permanent OSHA standard for Be, reports on the incidence of nonneoplastic respiratory diseases induced by Be. Current NIOSH standard for occupational exposure to Be has been set at 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter. Be carcinogenicity is discussed. It is noted that no other group of compounds gives as consistent a carcinogenic response in animal studies as Be does. At least 20 Be compounds have been tested for carcinogenicity in a wide variety of animal species; they have all been proven carcinogenic. Epidemiological studies are discussed. In 1970, lung cancer mortality rate among Be workers was 284.3 per 100,000, compared to 77.7 per 100,000 during 1937 to 1948. Analytical methods for determining Be are summarized. Engineering controls and work practices for minimizing Be exposure are discussed. Engineering controls may include new process systems, redesign of existing processes to remove the worker from the process, and local exhaust ventilation with a balanced makeup supply. Recommended work practices include vacuum or water spray clean up methods, tight fitting Be transfer operations, and procedures for decontamination of equipment. If engineering and work practice controls do not reduce Be exposure to or below the standard, respirators should be worn.
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