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Offline Rennhack

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Beryllium at Battelle
« on: Jul 27, 2009, 02:41 »
A friend of mine recently tested positive for Beryllium due to exposure at Battelle Columbus during the BCLDP.

Anyone who suspects that they may have been exposed to Beryllium should get tested at their earliest convenience.

Here is a link to some general information on Beryllium:

Below is an exerpt from the Wikipedia page:


Beryllium is harmful if inhaled and the effects depend on period of exposure. If beryllium concentrations in air are high enough (greater than 100 µg/m³), an acute condition can result, called acute beryllium disease, which resembles pneumonia. Occupational and community air standards are effective in preventing most acute lung damage. Long-term beryllium exposure can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. The more common serious health problem from beryllium today is chronic beryllium disease (CBD), discussed below. It continues to occur in industries as diverse as metal recycling, dental laboratories, alloy manufacturing, nuclear weapons production and metal machine shops that work with alloys containing small amounts of beryllium. A 2008 report from the United States National Research Council said that worker exposure to beryllium should be kept "at the lowest feasible level," as the agency's research could not establish any safe level of exposure.

Chronic beryllium disease (CBD)

Some people (1-15%) are sensitive to beryllium. Sensitization is not an illness, but some of these individuals, if inhaling sufficient quantities of beryllium dust in the micrometer-size range, may have an inflammatory reaction that principally targets the respiratory system and skin. This condition is called chronic beryllium disease (CBD), and can occur within a few months or many years after exposure to higher-than-normal levels of beryllium (greater than 0.2 µg/m³). This disease causes fatigue, weakness, night sweats and can cause difficulty in breathing and a persistent dry cough. It can result in anorexia, weight loss, and may also lead to right-side heart enlargement and heart disease in advanced cases. Some people who are sensitized to beryllium may not have symptoms, and just being sensitized is not a recognized health effect. CBD is treatable, but not curable with traditional drugs and medicine. CBD occurs when the body's immune system recognizes beryllium particles as foreign material and mounts an immune system attack against the particles. Because these particles are typically inhaled into the lungs, the lungs become the major site where the immune system responds. The lung sacs become inflamed and fill with large numbers of white blood cells that accumulate wherever beryllium particles are found. These cells form balls around the beryllium particles called “granulomas.” When enough of these develop, they interfere with the normal function of the organ. Over time, the lungs become stiff and lose their ability to help transfer oxygen from the air into the bloodstream. Patients with CBD develop difficulty inhaling and exhaling sufficient amounts of air, and the amount of oxygen in their bloodstreams falls. Treatment includes supplemental oxygen and immunosuppressants (such as prednisone) to lower the body's overreaction to beryllium. The general population is unlikely to develop acute or chronic beryllium disease because ambient air levels of beryllium are normally very low (0.00003-0.0002 µg/m³)

Detection in the body

Beryllium can be measured in the urine and blood. The amount of beryllium in blood or urine may not indicate time or quantity of exposure. Beryllium levels can also be measured in lung and skin samples. While such measurements may help establish that exposure has occurred, other tests are used to determine if that exposure has resulted in health effects. A blood test, the blood beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT), identifies beryllium sensitization and has predictive value for CBD. The BeLPT has become the standard test for detecting beryllium sensitization and CBD in individuals who are suspected of having CBD and to help distinguish it from similar conditions such as sarcoidosis. It is also the main test used in industry health programs to monitor whether disease is occurring among current and former workers who have been exposed to beryllium on the job. The test can detect disease that is at an early stage, or can detect disease at more advanced stages of illness as well. The BeLPT can also be performed using cells obtained from a person's lung by a procedure called "bronchoscopy."
« Last Edit: Jul 27, 2009, 02:47 by Rennhack »

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #1 on: Jul 27, 2009, 02:54 »
Saw a couple of house guys at RFETS in the mid 90s with this - they were basically disabled - breathing difficulties, etc.  :(
That stuff was even scarier to me than the PU... :o
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Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #2 on: Jul 27, 2009, 03:05 »
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Office of Workers'
Compensation Programs
Division of Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation

Beryllium Diseases Under the EEOICPA

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act [EOICPA]
Established a program to provide compensation to employees of the Department of Energy (DOE), its predecessor agencies, and its contractors and subcontractors involved in the production and testing of nuclear weapons. Employees (or their eligible survivors) who contracted certain illnesses as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica may be eligible to receive a compensation payment of $150,000 and payment of the medical expenses of the covered illness from the date of the claim. In the case of beryllium sensitivity, individuals are eligible for payments of medical expenses only.

An eligible employee may be treated by any qualified physician. In an accepted claim, all medical expenses related to the beryllium sensitivity or Chronic Beryllium Disease will be covered by DOL retroactive to the date the claim was filed.

Transportation costs for medical treatment and prescriptions are covered.

If an employee is deceased, certain survivors are eligible to receive benefits:

Spouses: are eligible for benefits if they were married to the covered employee for at least one year before the date of the employee's death.

Children: If no surviving spouse: a child, regardless of age, is eligible for compensation if the parent was an eligible employee.

Additional Survivors: in order of precedence:
parents, grandchildren, grandparents.

Beryllium Sensitivity and Chronic Berqllium Disease (CBD)
If you, were exposed to beryllium while you were an employee of DOE, a DOE contractor or subcontractor, or a beryllium vendor and were exposed to beryllium at a DOE facility or at a facility owned, operated or occupied by a beryllium vendor, you may be eligible for compensation from DOL.

To establish that a claimant was exposed to beryllium in the performance of duty, a claimant needs to establish that the covered employee was employed during a period when beryllium dust, particles or vapor may have been present at the facility. Generally, proof of employment at such facilities during periods when beryllium was present will be sufficient to establish exposure to beryllium in the performance of duty.

Beryllium Sensitivity is an immune system allergic reaction to the presence of beryllium in the body as the result of inhaling dust particles or vapors from beryllium.

If you have an abnormal Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (LPT) or Lymphocyte Transformation Test (LTT) that was performed on either blood or lung lavage cells, you may be eligible for medical monitoring benefits payable through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) is a progressive loss of lung function as a result of inhaling dust particles or vapors from beryllium.

Documentation required to support CBD is determined by the date the condition is diagnosed.

If CBD was diagnosed on or after January 1, 1993, the medical documentation must include one abnormal LPT or one LTT test result and one or more of the following:

A lung biopsy showing granulomas or a lymphocytic process consistent with CBD;
A CAT scan showing changes consistent with CBD;
A pulmonary function study or exercise tolerance test showing pulmonary deficits consistent with CBD.
If CBD was diagnosed before January 1, 1993, the medical documentation must include a history or epidemiological evidence of exposure to beryllium and any three of the following criteria:

Characteristic chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT) abnormalities;
Restrictive or obstructive lung physiology testing or diffusing lung capacity defect;
Lung pathology consistent with CBD;
Clinical course consistent with chronic respiratory disorder;
Immunologic tests showing beryllium sensitivity (skin patch test or beryllium blood test preferred).
For Assisstance in Appllying for Beryllium Benefits:
contact one of the DOL District Offices or DOL/DOE Resource Centers:

District Offices:

DOL Jacksonville District Office
214 North Hogan Street, Suite 910
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(877) 336-4272 (toll-free) DOL Denver District Office
1999 Broadway, Suite 1120
P.O. Box 46550
Denver, CO 80201
(888) 805-3389 (toll-free)
DOL Cleveland District Office
1001 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 350
Cleveland, OH 44114
(888) 859-7211 (toll-free) DOL Seattle District Office
719 2nd Avenue, Suite 601
Seattle, WA 98104
(888) 805-3401 (toll-free)


Resource Centers:

Augusta Resource Center
1708 Bunting Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
(866) 666-4606 (toll-free)
Paducah Resource Center
Barkley Center, Unit 125
125 Memorial Drive
Paducah, KY 42001
(866) 534-0599 or
(888) 654-9922 (toll-free)

Espanola Resource Center
412 Paseo De Onate
Suite "D"
Espanola, NM 87532
(866) 272-3622 (toll-free) Portsmouth Resource Center
4320 Old Scioto Trail
Portsmouth, OH 45662
(866) 363-6993 (toll-free)
Idaho Falls Resource Center
Exchange Plaza
1820 East 17th Street
Suite 375
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
(800) 861-8608 (toll-free)
Hanford Resource Center
1029 N. Kellogg Street
Kennewick, WA 99336
(888) 654-0014 (toll-free)
Las Vegas Resource Center
Flamigo Executive Park
1050 East Flamingo Road
Suite W-156
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(866) 697-0841 (toll-free)

Anchorage Resource Center
2501 Commercial Drive
Anchorage, AK 99501
(888) 908-4070 (toll-free)
Oak Ridge Resource Center
Jackson Plaza Complex
800 Oak Ridge Turnpike
Suite C-103
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
(866) 481-0411 (toll-free)

Rocky Flats Resource Center
8758 Wolff Court
Suite 201
Westminster, CO 80030
(866) 540-4977 (toll-free)

« Last Edit: Jul 27, 2009, 03:10 by UncaBuffalo »
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Offline Brett LaVigne

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #3 on: Jul 27, 2009, 08:04 »
I am glad that I was on 2nd shift charicterization crew. I remember an old timer there telling me that he couldn't understand all of the controls, he had worked in the Beryllium lab for many many years and never had to abide by any industrial safety rules or wear any special protective equipment or clothing. Very scary stuff! It makes me feel very fortunate that I didn't start in this industry until 90'.

This is a good post Mike, thanks for the info.
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Offline HydroDave63

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #4 on: Jul 27, 2009, 08:57 »
Saw a couple of house guys at RFETS in the mid 90s with this - they were basically disabled - breathing difficulties, etc.  :(
That stuff was even scarier to me than the PU... :o

Because of the forming and machining processes, it has really fine particles that HEPA filters won't stop very well.

The granulomas described in Mike's post can be too small to see in a CT scan, up to about 1/4" apiece. I know someone with the x-rays to prove it  >:(


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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #5 on: Dec 16, 2010, 08:34 »
i was a backup for that job.never got called to make an entry. do they know how it got out of containment.a lot of people were working in the machine shop below ???


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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #6 on: Dec 17, 2010, 08:34 »
For current and former DOE types concerned about Beryllium, 10 CFR 850 covers this subject.


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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #7 on: Dec 19, 2010, 05:18 »
thats some scary stuff...I worked at the BCLDP for 10 years.

Offline HydroDave63

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #8 on: Dec 19, 2010, 05:24 »
I'd probably invest 50 mrem on a chest x-ray in that case  >:(

Offline Dave Warren

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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #9 on: Dec 21, 2010, 07:38 »
I guess none of you guys will be volunteering for the Luckey (OH) remediation job when it starts.
There is plenty of it there just waiting to be unearthed.


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Re: Beryllium at Battelle
« Reply #10 on: Dec 22, 2010, 08:32 »
I guess none of you guys will be volunteering for the Luckey (OH) remediation job when it starts.
There is plenty of it there just waiting to be unearthed.

where do I sign up for that adventure ?......LOL

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