Cumulative Sensitization and Disease in a Beryllium Oxide Ceramics Worker Cohort

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Abstract

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.

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