Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD)

Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) is a potentially disabling or even fatal respiratory disease caused by the toxic effects of beryllium exposure at the workplace. Beryllium is a metallic element used in many industries, including electronics, high-technology ceramics, and metals extraction, and can also be found in oil, coal and soil. Workers exposed to particles, fumes, mists and solutions from beryllium-containing materials may develop “beryllium sensitization” or chronic beryllium disease.


CBDDepending on how workers are exposed, CBD can affect different tissues and organs. It primarily affects the lungs after the inhalation of fumes or dusts containing beryllium particles. Beryllium may also affect such organs as the liver, kidneys, heart, nervous system, and the lymphatic system because the blood transports beryllium throughout the body. Once in the body, beryllium combines with certain proteins, causing the release of toxic substances. Direct contact with beryllium fumes or dusts may harm the exposed areas of the body, including the eyes or skin. If beryllium enters the body through an opening in the skin, such as through a sliver or cut, it can cause a rash, poor wound healing, or wart-like skin bumps.


Signs of CBD include enlargement of the liver, spleen and right heart, and kidney stones. The onset of symptoms after initial beryllium exposure may be highly unpredictable, ranging from a few months to years or even decades. Some affected people may have few or no symptoms at all for many years followed by eventual deterioration. Symptoms of CBD may include dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and enlargement of lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, affected individuals may have increasingly severe lung damage, resulting in intense breathing difficulties, liver damage, and potentially life-threatening complications.


If you have been exposed to beryllium and have developed CBD, or any other health problem as a result of the exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC for more information.