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.