Sensitization and chronic beryllium disease at a primary manufacturing facility, part 3: exposure-response among short-term workers.

Exposure-response relations for beryllium sensitization (BeS) and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) using aerosol mass concentration have been inconsistent, although process-related risks found in most studies suggest that exposure-dependent risks exist. We examined exposure-response relations using personal exposure estimates in a beryllium worker cohort with limited work tenure to minimize exposure misclassification.
The population comprised workers employed in 1999 with six years or less tenure. Each completed a work history questionnaire and was evaluated for immunological sensitization and CBD. A job-exposure matrix was combined with work histories to create individual estimates of average, cumulative, and highest-job-worked exposure for total, respirable, and submicron beryllium mass concentrations. We obtained odds ratios from logistic regression models for exposure-response relations, and evaluated process-related risks.
Participation was 90.7% (264/291 eligible). Sensitization prevalence was 9.8% (26/264), with 6 sensitized also diagnosed with CBD (2.3%, 6/264). A general pattern of increasing sensitization prevalence was observed as exposure quartile increased. Both total and respirable beryllium mass concentration estimates were positively associated with sensitization (average and highest job), and CBD (cumulative). Increased sensitization prevalence was identified in metal/oxide production, alloy melting and casting, and maintenance, and for CBD in melting and casting. Lower sensitization prevalence was observed in plant-area administrative work.
Sensitization was associated with average and highest job exposures, and CBD was associated with cumulative exposure. Both total and respirable mass concentrations were relevant predictors of risk. New process-related risks were identified in melting and casting and maintenance.
AuthorsChristine R Schuler, M Abbas Virji, David C Deubner, Marcia L Stanton, Aleksandr B Stefaniak, Gregory A Day, Ji Young Park, Michael S Kent, Rachel Sparks, Kathleen Kreiss
JournalScandinavian journal of work, environment & health (Scand J Work Environ Health) Vol. 38 Issue 3 Pg. 270-81 (May 2012) ISSN: 1795-990X [Electronic] Finland
PMID21877099 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Beryllium
  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor (adverse effects)
  • Berylliosis (epidemiology, etiology)
  • Beryllium (toxicity)
  • Chronic Disease
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Inhalation Exposure (adverse effects)
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure (adverse effects)
  • Occupational Health
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment (methods)
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • United States (epidemiology)
  • Workplace
  • Young Adult

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