Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) affects several hard working Americans each year. What is even more unfortunate is that there is no cure for CBD. Because the signs and symptoms of CBD may take years to develop, a person may not even know that they have been exposed to beryllium and face an increased risk of developing lung tissue scarring. Here is some information concerning CBD that you may find helpful.
CBD is caused by the inhalation of beryllium dust or fumes. CBD can result in painful scarring of the lung tissue. Beryllium is a naturally occurring lightweight material. Beryllium is stiffer than steel but lighter than aluminum.
Typically, beryllium is packed away in solid rock and soil composition. Thus, one does not develop beryllium sensitization from casual beryllium exposure outdoors because such natural air concentrations are very low. Rather, beryllium sensitization commonly occurs from exposure to persons who work in the aerospace, dental, electronics, atomic, or defense industries. Beryllium is used in these industries because it is a good thermal and electric conductor, is non-magnetic, and is extremely lightweight and hard. Other industries and occupations that frequently use and may expose a person to beryllium include:
- Ceramic manufacturing
- Laboratory work
- Mineral extraction
- Metal recycling
- Fluorescent lamps
- Sporting goods
- Hot press operators
You may not have any apparent signs of CBD, particularly in its early stages of development. However, some possible symptoms of CBD may include:
- Night Sweats
- Feeling short of breath after physical activity
- Loss of appetite
- Recurring dry cough
- Joint and Chest pain
- Skin rash
Persons with CBD first develop “beryllium sensitization,” an allergic response to beryllium. In the later stages of the disease, scarring of the lung tissue occurs. Severe lung damage may cause the right side of the heart to be strained as a result of excessive pressure in the pulmonary artery from lung damage. CBD can develop as quickly as within one month of exposure to beryllium, but may take as long as forty years to develop or materialize.
Beryllium has also been shown to cause cancer in humans. Studies have indicated that an increased risk of lung cancer is especially likely for individuals exposed to very high levels of beryllium. Although there is a risk of cancer resulting from exposure to beryllium, the more common concern associated with beryllium exposure is beryllium sensitization and CBD. These ailments are frequently diagnosed, likely because many workers have been exposed to low levels of beryllium over a long period of time. Families of workers in the above named occupations and industries may also become exposed to dangerous levels of beryllium as a result of contact with the worker’s clothing, hair or body.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Chronic Beryllium Disease, and it may be fatal. There are certain treatments that may be used to slow the progression of the disease. Such treatments can help a person to manage CBD symptoms by improving oxygen levels in the bloodstream and preventing further lung damage from scarring.
In serious cases of CBD, a lung transplant may be necessary. Other treatment options may include the use of oxygen therapy or immunosuppressive drugs. Oxygen therapy helps patients who have increasing difficulty breathing on their own. Oxygen therapy provides supplemental oxygen and can be delivered through systems including concentrators, compressed gas systems, and liquid systems. The immunosuppressive drug most often prescribed to patients with CBD is prednisone. Prednisone works to slow the immune system’s response to beryllium in the blood and helps improve the gas exchange between the lungs and the bloodstream. Such treatment is usually given as a regimen and the use of prednisone is gradually decreased over time. Prednisone therapy can work to decrease CBD symtoms.
Where to Find a Chronic Beryllium Disease Attorney
What do you do if you think you or a loved one has been exposed to beryllium, and has suffered from Chronic Beryllium Disease as a result? Call the Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates now. Our firm can help families just like yours. We will work aggressively to assert your rights and get you the compensation you and your family need and deserve. Email us or call now for FREE case evaluation. For your convenience, our telephones are answered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (1-800-992-6878) or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.