Beryllium is a hard, lightweight metal that is very strong and easy to shape. Beryllium and beryllium compounds have many industrial uses. Beryllium copper alloys and beryllium oxide ceramics are used in the electronic, nuclear and aerospace industries. Beryllium parts for nuclear weapons have been manufactured and used at a number of Department of Energy (DOE) facilities since the 1950s. Workers may have come into contact with beryllium in a number of jobs there over the years. Inhaling beryllium as dust or fumes from machining or manufacturing activities can cause sensitivity in some individuals that can evolve into chronic beryllium disease (CBD), formerly known as berylliosis.
DOE established a chronic beryllium disease prevention program (CBDPP) to reduce the number of workers currently exposed to beryllium in the course of their work at DOE facilities managed by DOE or its contractors, minimize the levels of, and potential for, exposure to beryllium, and establish medical surveillance requirements to ensure early detection of the disease.
Last Updated: 05/03/21