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Beryllium is primarily used in its metallic form, in alloys, or in beryllium oxide ceramics. Its physical and mechanical properties make it useful for many applications across a range of industries. Because beryllium is recognized as a sensitizing and carcinogenic agent, the management of occupational health for workers who may be occupationally exposed to beryllium has long been an important issue in the world. Under these circumstances, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had published a rule in January 2017, to prevent the development of chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. This rule strengthens the regulations governing the use of beryllium and its compounds. With the announcement of the OSHA rule in January 2017, the purpose of this study is to gain insight into the health problems and industrial hygiene associated with the use of beryllium and share the issues related to the management of occupational health for persons working with beryllium in Japan. We collected information regarding the beryllium industry, beryllium exposure, beryllium-induced health disorders, OSHA rule of January 2017, and regulations for beryllium use in Japan. After reviewing them, we discussed the issues concerning occupational health management of workers exposed to beryllium in Japan. It has been reconfirmed that in recent years, the most serious health problem due to beryllium exposure is chronic beryllium disease caused by beryllium sensitization. Management of occupational health that emphasizes reduction of beryllium sensitization and early detection of beryllium-sensitized workers is important. It was suggested that the following should be considered as the issues of management of occupational health of workers exposed to beryllium in Japan: (1) Collect epidemiologic data on health hazards from beryllium exposure in Japan. (2) Review the diagnostic items of special medical check-ups. (3) Review the definition of beryllium and its compounds in the Ordinance on Prevention of Hazards due to Specified Chemical Substances.


Tatsushi Toyooka, Shigeki Koda. Management of occupational health for adverse health effects of beryllium and its compounds in workplaces - Recent trends and issues in Japan]. Sangyo eiseigaku zasshi = Journal of occupational health. 2021 Mar 25;63(2):31-42

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PMID: 32788509

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