The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new rule limiting the workplace exposure of beryllium, which is a chemical element than can cause the severe lung disease berylliosis. Berylliosis can cause complete failure of the lungs and ultimately result in death without a lung transplant.
Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in a variety of industries including energy, electronics, aerospace, and defense. It is arguably the most toxic substance on earth when processed in a manner that releases airborne dust, fume, or mist into the workplace environment. OSHA estimates 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium in the workplace. Workers at the greatest risk are those in foundry and smelting operations; machining, fabricating, and grinding beryllium alloys and metals; beryllium oxide ceramics manufacturing; and dental lab work.
The final rule is set to reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meters to 0.2 micrograms per meter. Additional protections, such as medical exams, protective equipment, and other types of medical training and surveillance will also be required under the new rule.
Lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section are investigating cases where individuals are diagnosed with berylliosis or sarcoidosis, which is pathologically similar to berylliosis. If you have any questions about this subject, contact Chris Boutwell or Ryan Kral, lawyers in the Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com or Ryan.Kral@beasleyallen.com.
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