The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is holding a public hearing on February 29, 2016 in Washington D.C. on its proposed rule to amend existing limits to exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds.
Beryllium is used in the manufacturing of electronics, ceramics, research and development labs, aircraft, and the atomic energy and defense industry.
Chronic berylliosis is a pulmonary and systemic granulomatous disease caused by exposure to beryllium. Cases of chronic berylliosis were first described in 1946 among workers in plants manufacturing fluorescent lamps in Salem, Massachusetts. Chronic berylliosis resembles sarcoidosis in many respects. Lung cancer is a possible result of prolonged exposure to beryllium laden dust.
Under current Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations, the eight-hour permissible exposure limit for beryllium is 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration of beryllium. OSHA's proposed standard would reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter and require additional protections for workers, including personal protective equipment, medical exams, and training.
Click here for more information about the proposed regulations and the upcoming public hearing.