Developments in Beryllium Regulation, Sampling, and Laboratory Analysis
At AIHce EXP 2018, IHs came together to hear from regulatory and industry experts on the latest developments in beryllium regulation, sampling, and laboratory analysis.
Maureen Ruskin, OSHA’s deputy director of Standards and Guidance, highlighted aspects of the agency’s new beryllium standard published in January 2017. The new standard was developed after OSHA determined the previous PELs did not adequately protect workers and left a significant risk of material impairment of health.
“We found that there was a link between CBD [chronic beryllium disease], lung cancer, and beryllium sensitization,” said Ruskin. “We have estimated that this rule would save approximately 90 deaths per year, and CBD is where we realize most of those benefits. We would also prevent 46 new cases of CBD per year.”
She highlighted the new “beryllium work area” created by the new standard, and indicated OSHA will be proposing modifications to the definition of the beryllium work area.
“We have a new concept called the beryllium work area,” Ruskin said. “This is for employers that have processes or operations or tasks that can generate airborne beryllium. They must demarcate this beryllium work area.
“One of the important things that we see about the beryllium work area is that it tells the employers that you must demarcate this area to minimize the number of employees that are in this area and potentially exposed to beryllium, and also to minimize cross-contamination from the beryllium work area to other areas to further reduce risk to more employees.”
Seuri Taruru, CIH, a beryllium sampling expert from the Nevada National Security Site, addressed important considerations when sampling.
“Do you have natural beryllium or manmade beryllium?” asked Taruru, “Typically, natural beryllium is not considered as hazardous as manmade beryllium.”
He urged attendees to consider the pathway to the target organ. “It's easy to get beryllium contamination from a surface, and then you take it to your nose and then you get exposed, especially if you're sensitized to beryllium,” Taruru said.
Beryllium Laboratory Analysis
“Laboratory selection is a key thing,” said Michael Brisson, MS, PMP, while speaking on the topic of laboratory analysis for trace-level beryllium in air, surface, and bulk samples. “Not all labs are created equal. So, you need to check with your laboratory to make sure that they can meet your needs, that they can meet data quality objectives, and find out what special requirements they might have.”
Brisson encouraged attendees to consider several key questions when selecting a laboratory. “Is your laboratory accredited? That is not a requirement under the OSHA rule, but it is under the Department of Energy rule,” Brisson said, adding that one should also have a good understanding of how the lab will prepare samples for analysis.
Brisson outlined several analytical method requirements to assess before choosing a lab. “Make sure that they have done their due diligence in validating their method—that they have proper protocols for calibration, quality control, and participation in proficiency testing,” Brisson said. “AIHA PAT [Proficiency Analytical Testing] has a specific proficiency testing for beryllium that forty-plus laboratories in the U.S. participate in. In my opinion, that's the best barometer of knowing that the lab that you're considering is going to be truly proficient.”
For more information about beryllium laboratory analysis, read Taruru’s article in the August 2017 Synergist.