The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has changed the standard for exposure to beryllium. The light, strong metal is used in several manufacturing industries. A small amount of beryllium dust, fume, or mist can cause serious lung disease in workers. Permissible exposure limits for an eight-hour period were reduced by a factor of ten. The old exposure level, 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter, will be consider as an action level if present for a 15-minute sampling period. That is, such a sample would require an employer to immediately take steps to reduce the airborne concentration. Personal protection, training, and medical support are also required in workplaces where beryllium is present. Some of the provisions of the new rule take place in one year and it will be in full effect after three years.


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