First adjustment since 1948
The permissible exposure limit for beryllium a mineral used in 4,800 companies has been adjusted 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) of air . The previous PEL had not been updated since 1948. The new standard requires additional personal protective equipment, medical exams, medical surveillance, and training. OSHA estimates these new guidelines will save 100 lives annually.
Companies exposing their workers to dangerous beryllium levels risk having their workers develop lung cancer and Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) an incurable, debilitating and life-threatening disease caused by inhalation of airborne beryllium by individuals sensitized to beryllium.
Industries most often using beryllium include: aerospace, automotive, ceramic manufacturing, defense, dental labs, electronics, energy, medicine, nuclear energy, sporting goods, and telecommunication.
For an overview of OSHA's recommendations and the actions companies are now required to take please see their overview bulletin on this subject.