Representation for Victims of Beryllium Exposure

Philadelphia Toxic Tort Lawyers

Beryllium is a rare element whose rigid nature, heat-resistant properties and lightweight properties have made it useful to a number of industries. Beryllium is found in numerous workplace forms, including beryllium oxide powder, beryllium ceramics, and beryllium copper alloy. Unfortunately, this usefulness comes at quite a cost, because beryllium is also an extremely toxic carcinogen. It is so toxic that the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists beryllium as a Category 1 carcinogen.

After beryllium is mined, it is typically refined to a powder that can be used as a hardening agent in a number of alloys. When inhaled, beryllium particles can cause progressive inflammation of lung tissue and lead to life-threatening health conditions, including beryllium disease. Beryllium is so toxic, that the Atomic Energy Commission has stated that there is really no known safe level of beryllium exposure.

Golomb & Honik, P.C. continues to investigate beryllium exposure claims from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and across the United States. If you or someone you love has suffered health complications after being exposed to beryllium, we encourage you to contact us at (215) 278-4449 for a free case evaluation.

Industrial Use of Beryllium

Although the dangers of beryllium have been known for decades, its versatility led to use in widely varying industries including:

  • Aerospace components makers
  • Computer and electronics manufacturing
  • Scrap metal reclamation
  • Nuclear power industry
  • Dental work/dental prosthetics
  • Automotive industry
  • Metal machining operations
  • Defense industry

Sadly, the adverse effects of beryllium exposure are not limited to workers who came in direct contact with beryllium particles. Family members of those who worked with beryllium have contracted beryllium disease through second-hand exposure, as have people who lived near industries that utilized beryllium.

Beryllium Disease Symptoms

Beryllium disease is generally categorized as acute or chronic. Chronic beryllium disease is the most common form resulting from beryllium exposure. It is caused by an "allergic" reaction to beryllium and triggered by exposure to the fine dust particles. Chronic beryllium disease, however, is often misdiagnosed as sarcoidosis.

The effects of beryllium disease can take years-even decades-to become evident. In fact, symptoms of chronic berylliosis can take nearly 5 years to develop. Of the patients who are diagnosed with berylliosis, 1/3 will die and the rest will be left disabled.

While there are treatments available for beryllium disease, there is no cure, and the condition may result in death. Symptoms of beryllium disease include:

  • Breathing complications
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Night sweats

Legal Representation for Beryllium Victims Nationwide

In 2000, Congress established the Energy Employees’ Occupational Illness Compensation Act to benefit employees, former employees, and subcontractors of the Department of Energy. These employees had been exposed to beryllium while working in nuclear weapons sites and it provides a lump sum of $150,000 and health benefits to workers who are suffering from beryllium health complications.

It has been our experience, however, that this lump sum does not adequately compensate beryllium sufferers for the medical expenses, long-term care, and lifelong disabilities that they must now endure because of negligent exposure to beryllium. As such, we help beryllium exposure victims review all of their legal options, including filing a toxic tort lawsuit. Through litigation we can usually help our client achieve far greater compensation through either verdict awards or settlements.

Families and other workers outside of the Department of Energy may have no other legal recourse except to file a lawsuit against their employer, the manufacturer of the safety equipment that failed to protect them from the toxic beryllium, or the distributor of the material that contained the toxic beryllium.

Your first consultation is completely free. Do not wait to contact Golomb & Honik, P.C. for a complimentary case evaluation. We can be reached at (215) 278-4449.