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Migration of Beryllium via Multiple Exposure Pathways among Work Processes in Four Different Facilities
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    25357184
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5003170
  • Description:
    Inhalation of beryllium is associated with the development of sensitization; however, dermal exposure may also be important. The primary aim of this study was to elucidate relationships among exposure pathways in four different manufacturing and finishing facilities. Secondary aims were to identify jobs with increased levels of beryllium in air, on skin, and on surfaces; identify potential discrepancies in exposure pathways, and determine if these are related to jobs with previously identified risk. Beryllium was measured in air, on cotton gloves, and on work surfaces. Summary statistics were calculated and correlations among all three measurement types were examined at the facility and job level. Exposure ranking strategies were used to identify jobs with higher exposures. The highest air, glove, and surface measurements were observed in beryllium metal production and beryllium oxide ceramics manufacturing jobs that involved hot processes and handling powders. Two finishing and distribution facilities that handle solid alloy products had lower exposures than the primary production facilities, and there were differences observed among jobs. For all facilities combined, strong correlations were found between air-surface (rp ≥ 0.77), glove-surface (rp ≥ 0.76), and air-glove measurements (rp ≥ 0.69). In jobs where higher risk of beryllium sensitization or disease has been reported, exposure levels for all three measurement types were higher than in jobs with lower risk, though they were not the highest. Some jobs with low air concentrations had higher levels of beryllium on glove and surface wipe samples, suggesting a need to further evaluate the causes of the discrepant levels. Although such correlations provide insight on where beryllium is located throughout the workplace, they cannot identify the direction of the pathways between air, surface, or skin. Ranking strategies helped to identify jobs with the highest combined air, glove, and/or surface exposures. All previously identified high-risk jobs had high air concentrations, dermal mass loading, or both, and none had low dermal and air. We have found that both pathways are relevant. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene for the following free supplemental resource: a file describing the forms of beryllium materials encountered during production and characteristics of the aerosols by process areas.].

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
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