TRACK: Environmental Health and Risk Management
Alisa M. Koval, MD, MPH, MHSA, Denver Health/COSH, Denver, CO
Lisa Maier, MD, MSPH, FCCP, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO
Margaret M. Mroz, MSPH, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO
Lee S. Newman, MD, FACOEM, Center for Worker Health and Environment, Colorado School of Public Health, Denver, CO
Michael J. Wright, United Steelworkers, Pittsburgh, PA
This session will bring together a group of experts in the science and policy of chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a lung condition that workers can develop when particles of beryllium or beryllium compounds are inhaled. In addition, beryllium is a known carcinogen linked to lung cancer. Currently, OSHA enforces a 40-year-old permissable exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium in general industry, construction, and shipyards, which does not adequately protect workers against health effects, especially CBD. This session will explore the historical context and epidemiology of occupational beryllium exposure and disease, as well as the current understanding of the mechanisms of health effects and the current state of diagnosis and treatment of CBD, from the viewpoint of both physician and patient. This session will not only be relevant to the current OSHA beryllium standard, but will present an approach that can translate science into policy that should be applied to other occupational hazards. This session may be of particular interest to residents and recent graduates.