Beryllium in Consumer Products
Beryllium, a grey metal that is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum, is often referred to as “the most deadly poison known to man.” The highly toxic metal has been used in common consumer products, such as computers, televisions, and cell phones.
Much to the surprise of consumers, end products containing beryllium and beryllium compounds are used in many industries including:
Beryllium and its compounds are used in the aerospace industry for such products as aircraft braking systems, engines, and satellites.
Beryllium is also used in the automotive industry and can be found in anti-lock brake systems and ignitions.
Beryllium is also common in the manufacturing of ceramics, which include rocket covers, ignition modules, crucibles, jet engine blades, and semiconductor chips.
Beryllium can also be found in the components for nuclear weapons, missile parts, guidance systems, optical systems, heat shields, reactors, and wireless base stations.
The use of beryllium compounds is also evident in dental labs, in the form of alloys in crowns, bridges, and dental plates; Medicine, in the use of laser and electro-medical devices, and X-ray windows; and as well as electronics, in the structures of computer parts, heat sinks, and transistors.
Most people do not realize that beryllium is used in sports equipment, such as golf clubs and bicycle frames.
HAZARDS OF BERYLLIUM
Workers in industries where beryllium is processed may be exposed to beryllium by inhaling or coming into contact with beryllium in the air or on surfaces, which can cause an immune response that results in an individual becoming sensitized to beryllium. Individuals with beryllium sensitization can develop a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease (CBD). In the early stages, CBD may not cause any noticeable symptoms, however over time, the exposed individual may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic dry cough, chest/joint pain, loss of appetite, and night sweats. Eventually CBD causes scarring of the lung tissue. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other adverse health effects such as acute beryllium disease, and lung cancer.
If you or a loved one has been unknowingly exposed to beryllium, whether through a work environment or through the use of consumer products, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at The Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC have over 40 years of experience dealing with cases such as these.