Results show that nearly 3,900 Canadians are exposed to beryllium in their workplaces; 86% of these workers are male. The largest industrial groups exposed are building equipment contractors, medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, and residential building construction.
When beryllium exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed groups are construction trades helpers, welders, electricians, and dental technologists.
Data Sources & Methods
Data used in developing the occupational estimates for beryllium were collected from several sources:
- The Canadian Workplace Exposure Database (CWED) contains approximately 500 measurements for beryllium exposure. These measurements were collected during the years 1981 to 2004 in Ontario and British Columbia workplaces.
- Canadian and US scientific peer reviewed publications that addressed beryllium exposure in Canada and the United States.
- Grey literature including technical reports from governments and international bodies.
Prevalence Estimate Method
CAREX defines exposure to beryllium as inhalation and/or dermal exposure at work (it is rare to encounter any measurable levels of beryllium in the general environment).
To determine the number of workers potentially exposed to beryllium at work, CAREX occupational exposure experts used methods previously established in other peer-reviewed CAREX projects in Europe. A series of steps were taken to assign exposure proportions to occupations and industries at risk of exposure to beryllium.
- Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to beryllium were identified using any combination of data sources described above.
- The total number of workers in each identified occupation and industry intersection was obtained from Statistics Canada 2006 census data.
- A percentage of workers exposed was assigned to that occupation and industry intersection. Percentages were determined by consultation with existing evidence in the data sources, previously established methods from the Europe CAREX estimates and the expert judgement of CAREX occupational hygienists.
- The number of workers in the identified group is multiplied by the assigned percentage to calculate the prevalence estimate of workers exposed to beryllium.