Beryllium Disease occurs when people are exposed to high concentrations of this toxic metal. Workers in the aerospace, defense, manufacturing, and metal working industries face the greatest risk of exposure. Our law firm is working with experienced beryllium disease attorneys, who are filing lawsuits, and there are no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Call us toll-free anytime or submit a contact form online.
Beryllium is a toxic metal that is used in a number of industries. Exposure to high concentrations of this metal may lead to lung damage and a serious condition known as beryllium disease. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered this type of injury, then you should talk to a personal injury lawyer about your rights. You may have a valid workers’ compensation claim, social security disability claim, or third party action.
Beryllium Exposure in the Workplace
Beryllium is a rare metal that is mined and refined for industrial use. It is often combined with metals like aluminum, cobalt, copper, iron, and nickel in order to increase their hardness and resistance to corrosion. This metal is used in manufacturing and metal working in the form of beryllium ceramics, beryllium copper alloy, and beryllium oxide powder. Oftentimes, exposure occurs when dust or fumes are released by alloys, ceramics, metals, metal oxides, or salts that contain the substance. Workers in the following industries may be exposed to this toxic metal without realizing it.
- Aerospace Workers (Jet, Satellite, and Space Shuttle Components)
- Defense Industry
- Dental Products (Bridges, Crowns, and Dental Plates)
- Manufacturing (Automobile, Computer, Electronic, Phone, and X-Ray Components)
- Metal Workers (Alloys, Die Casting, and Metal Processing)
- Mining and Refining (Ore Extraction)
- Nuclear Energy (Heat Shields and Nuclear Reactors)
Signs and Symptoms of Beryllium Disease
Exposure to this metal can lead to a serious condition known as beryllium disease (berylliosis). Acute beryllium disease occurs when a person is exposed to large amounts of the metal in a short period of time. Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) occurs when a person is exposed to dangerous levels of the metal over a long period of time. This condition is caused by the inhalation of metal particles which causes swelling in the lungs. White blood cells attack the metal particles in the lungs but are unable to remove it from the body. This buildup of particles and white blood cells is called a granuloma. Symptoms of this condition include the following.
- Weight Loss
- Difficulty Breathing/Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pain
In order to determine whether you are suffering from this condition your doctor will usually run a blood test known as a beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). Your doctor may also order breathing tests or chest x-rays in order to better understand how this condition has affected your body. Beryllium disease cannot be fully treated but its symptoms can be controlled. In many cases, doctors advise patients to avoid further exposure to the substance and use a corticosteroid to control the lung swelling. It is difficult to predict the long-term consequences of this condition because some patients live the rest of their lives without experiencing serious symptoms while other patients develop progressive diseases like lung cancer.
Compensation for Your Beryllium Injuries
People who have suffered beryllium disease and lung damage may be entitled to compensation. If your injuries are a result of workplace exposure then you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Some people may be barred from receiving these benefits because their condition developed years after their exposure. Additionally, the federal government has established a program to compensate Department of Energy employees and government contractors who have suffered these types of injuries. However, you should talk to an attorney before you apply for these benefits because receiving workers’ compensation benefits or a lump sum payment under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 may bar you from bringing claims against your employer. This is important to consider because your losses may exceed the amount you would receive under these programs and you may be able to receive more compensation by filing a beryllium lawsuit. Additionally, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if your injuries prevent you from working. An experienced beryllium lawyer will be able to give you the assistance you need to make the best decision in these matters.
Do You Need Legal Advice Concerning Your Beryllium Disease Injuries?
If you or a loved one has suffered lung damage due to beryllium exposure, you should talk to an attorney about your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, or other losses. We work with some of the more experienced beryllium lawyers, who handle these cases, and there are no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Feel free to call us toll-free or submit an online contact form.
- (i) Cleveland Clinic Health Information.
- (ii) Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).