Objective: To estimate the prevalence of beryllium sensitization among former and current Department of Defense workers from a conventional munitions facility.
Methods: Participants were screened by using Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test. Those sensitized were offered clinical evaluation for chronic beryllium disease.
Results: Eight (1.5%) of 524 screened workers were found sensitized to beryllium. Although the confidence interval was wide, the results suggested a possibly higher risk of sensitization among workers exposed to beryllium by occasional resurfacing of copper–2% beryllium alloy tools compared with workers with the lowest potential exposure (odds ratio = 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.23–29.9).
Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that Department of Defense workers with low overall exposure to beryllium had a low prevalence of beryllium sensitization. Sensitization rates might be higher where higher beryllium exposures presumably occurred, although this study lacked sufficient power to confirm this.