Beryllium is a metal poisoning that affects your lungs and comes in two forms. The acute version comes on quickly, with pneumonosis, or inflammation of the lungs, and is highly treatable and has a relatively good prognosis for recovery. However, if the correct treatment is not promptly provided, the effects could become life-threatening. Moreover, the chronic form of beryllium disease can occur slowly over time and lead to multiple complications. These complications can be life altering and even deadly. The symptoms can take a few months to begin showing up or can even take years before appearing. Neither acute nor chronic beryllium is common, and beryllium disease is thought to affect only between 1 and 6 percent of those workers exposed to it.
So what causes beryllium pneumonosis and who is at risk?
Beryllium can implant into the skin, or it can pose a risk when airborne, as it can be in the form of a vapor, fume, dust or compound as well. Most commonly it affects those whose occupation puts them in the same area as the compound. Since it is a popular metal element used to fuse two metals together with a strong but lightweight bond, it is commonly used in the manufacturing of things like electronics and aeronautics. Dental alloys, high-tech ceramics, and nuclear components also can involve the use of beryllium. Workers in plants producing any components to these types of end-products could be at risk.
If you have been diagnosed with beryllium pneumonosis, you may be confused as to what to do. Your medical team should see to your immediate treatment to help ensure a strong recovery, but financially, the costs could be hard to recover from. An occupational illness attorney in the Allegheny County area may be crucial to maximizing your remuneration.