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Cumulative Sensitization and Disease in a Beryllium Oxide Ceramics Worker Cohort

Schuler, Christine R. PhD; Kitt, Margaret M. MD, MPH; Henneberger, Paul K. MPH, ScD; Deubner, David C. MD, MPH; Kreiss, Kathleen MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 1343-1350
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31818def24
Original Articles

Objective: We followed a cohort of 136 beryllium oxide ceramics workers from 1992 to 2003, including those who left employment, for beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

Methods: We invited the cohort’s participation in current worker surveys in 1992, 1998, 2000, and 2002–2003, and in former worker surveys in 2000–2001 and 2003. We calculated 11-year cumulative incidences (after 1992 initial survey) of sensitization and CBD, both crude and corrected for interval censoring; and period prevalences (including 1992 findings), crude and corrected.

Results: In 1992, point prevalences were 6% sensitized and 4% CBD. We obtained follow-up on 83% of 128 not sensitized in 1992. Crude cumulative incidences for sensitization and CBD were 13% and 9%, respectively; corrected were 15% and 11%. Crude period prevalences for sensitization and CBD were 16% and 11%, respectively; corrected were 20% and 14%. Corrected period prevalences for pre-1992 machining work were 30% and 20%.

Conclusions: With repeated testing over 11 years, total sensitization and CBD in this cohort were triple initial 1992 survey results.

From the Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Field Studies Branch (Drs Schuler, Kitt, Henneberger, Kreiss), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WVa; and Brush Wellman Inc. (Mr Deubner), Elmore, Ohio.

CME Available for this Article at ACOEM.org

Margaret M. Kitt is currently in the Office of the Director at National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

David C. Deubner is an employee of Brush Wellman Inc., whose facility was evaluated in this manuscript. Brush Wellman provided data for the study, but no funding. The remaining authors (Christine R. Schuler, Margaret M. Kitt, Paul K. Henneberger, and Kathleen Kreiss are all employed by NIOSH. The authors have no financial interests related to this research.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Address correspondence to: Christine R. Schuler, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Field Studies Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road, MS H2800, Morgantown, WV 26505; E-mail: christine.schuler@cdc.hhs.gov.

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine