Sensitization and chronic beryllium disease among workers in copper-beryllium distribution centers

J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Feb;48(2):204-11. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000184864.10147.bc.


Objective: Little is known about the risk of sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) among workers performing limited processing of copper-beryllium alloys downstream of the primary beryllium industry. In this study, we performed a cross-sectional survey of employees at three copper-beryllium alloy distribution centers.

Methods: One hundred workers were invited to be tested for beryllium sensitization using the beryllium blood lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT); a sensitized worker was further evaluated for CBD. Available beryllium mass concentration air sampling data were obtained for characterization of airborne exposure.

Results: One participant, who had exposure to other forms of beryllium, was found to be sensitized and to have CBD, resulting in a prevalence of sensitization/CBD of 1% for all tested.

Conclusions: The overall prevalence of beryllium sensitization and CBD for workers in these three copper-beryllium alloy distribution centers is lower than for workers in primary beryllium production facilities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Alloys
  • Berylliosis / epidemiology*
  • Berylliosis / pathology
  • Beryllium / adverse effects*
  • Beryllium / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Copper
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Alloys
  • Copper
  • Beryllium