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Assessment of Beryllium Disease Risk in Pre-selected B.C. Industries

This research builds on a pilot study that identified several B.C. industries where beryllium exposure and disease among some workers is suspected. The study focused on an exposure assessment in a sample of these industries, along with testing on workers who are determined to be at risk

Exposure to beryllium, a lightweight metal with a variety of industrial uses, can lead to the development of chronic beryllium disease (CBD) in some people. Although several industries with possible beryllium operations exist in B.C., no cases of CBD have been diagnosed in this province. CBD is often misdiagnosed as sarcoidosis, another lung condition that is more common and clinically indistinguishable from CBD

In a pilot study, the researchers observed elevated rates of sarcoidosis in some industries, and suspected there could be hidden cases of CBD among those cases, resulting from occupational exposure to beryllium. This study was designed to identify workplaces in B.C. with beryllium exposure risk, raise awareness of the potential hazard, and screen workers and sarcoidosis patients for beryllium sensitization

Principal Investigator: Tim Takaro (SFU)
Co-investigators: Mieke Koehoorn, Paul Demers (UBC)
Funding Awarded: $294,268.76 (2 years)

Competition Year: 2010 File type: PDF (7 MB) Asset type: Research Research: RS2010-OG11