Cincinnati, Ohio Toxic Tort Attorney and Berylliosis Lung Disease Lawyer reviewing workplace toxic exposure for injured plaintiffs nationwide
Beryllium is commonly used in the manufacturing of cars, computers, and various electrical equipment. The metal, however, can be toxic when fumes are inhaled, and acute or chronic beryllium exposure can lead to severe lung conditions, including chronic beryllium disease, also known as berylliosis. There are two types of beryllium disease, acute and chronic, and both are a risk in certain industries that use the metal in production.
Employers have a duty to protect workers to the best of their ability when handling potentially toxic materials like beryllium. Welders who are not provided with the proper safety equipment are at an increased risk of developing serious lung disease, and following injury can contact a berylliosis lung disease lawyer to investigate possible OSHA safety violations.
OSHA Safety Violations & Toxic Exposure
Avoiding beryllium exposure is the most effective way to prevent chronic beryllium disease and other lung conditions. Employers should be following standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which include:
- Ventilating work areas
- Minimizing the use of beryllium
- Using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums
- Providing face masks and respirators to workers
There is a permissible beryllium exposure limit set by OSHA, but it is recommended that workers aim to avoid all exposure to protect themselves. It is prudent for workers to wear separate work clothes and shower before leaving the workplace to avoid bringing toxins into the home.
OSHA also requires employers provide workers with training sessions on the damaging health effects of beryllium. Training must highlight the specific health hazards associated with beryllium exposure, the signs and symptoms of berylliosis lung disease, and the proper use of personal safety equipment. Should employers fail to provide any of the required training and equipment, they may be held liable in personal injury lawsuits filed by your berylliosis lung disease lawyer.
Beryllium Lung Disease Symptoms
Chronic beryllium disease, or berylliosis, is associated with inhaling beryllium fumes, typically at the workplace in welding operations. There is no health threat associated with contact with solid beryllium. When individuals begin to develop a lung condition, the lungs will swell as they react to a foreign substance.
The lungs, during beryllium exposure, will develop granulomas that can cause scarring within the lungs, reducing proper lung capabilities. Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Weakness & Fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
- Persistent cough
Berylliosis Lung Disease Lawyer & Injury
Serious health effects associated with overexposure to beryllium in the workplace include the following:
Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD)—a chronic granulomatous lung disease caused by inhaling beryllium fumes after becoming sensitized to beryllium. Berylliosis can result from toxic exposure to beryllium at relatively low levels. Some workers and welders may quickly develop severe signs and symptoms of CBD. Others may not be diagnosed with a lung condition until months or years after initial exposure.
Lung cancer—numerous studies have led OSHA to determine that occupational exposure to beryllium causes lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) now classifies beryllium as a carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists beryllium as a “known human carcinogen.”
Acute Beryllium Disease (ABD)—a form of chemical pneumonia that results from breathing high concentrations of beryllium. ABD may be fatal in workers in poorly ventilated work spaces.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a berylliosis or another occupational lung disease, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, a berylliosis lung disease lawyer, and he will help you answer critical medical and legal questions.