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 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
- 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
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.