Issue Date: August 18, 2008
NRC Urges Minimal Beryllium Exposure
Worker exposure to beryllium should be kept at the “lowest feasible level” and should be closely monitored, says a new report from the National Research Council. After a review of the scientific literature, an NRC panel found the level of uncertainty in health-related research was so great that a safe level of beryllium exposure could not be determined. Instead, the panel recommended that exposure be kept as low as possible and workers exposed to dust and other beryllium particles be monitored through a medical surveillance program. Beryllium is a likely human carcinogen, the report says, and is also an occupational hazard due to its respiratory toxicity. Because of its strength, stability, and other attributes, it has found many uses, among them in nuclear weapons and other devices, computers, and a host of other industrial and defense applications.
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