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    Alert urges caution when working with beryllium

    February 14, 2011

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    Washington – NIOSH in February issued an alert (.pdf file) for beryllium.

    Beryllium is a highly toxic metal, and exposure to particles, fumes, mists or solutions from materials containing beryllium can lead to sensitization or chronic beryllium disease, a potentially life-threatening respiratory disease. NIOSH’s recommendations include:

    For workers:

    • Control beryllium dusts, fumes and mists at the source.
    • Keep work surfaces clean.
    • Do not use cleaning methods that may cause dust to become re-suspended in air.

    For employers:

    • Substitute less hazardous materials for beryllium when possible.
    • Keep airborne exposures low since a safe exposure limit has not been determined.
    • Establish and maintain a skin and respiratory protection program.

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