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Monday, January 14, 2002

Doctor to address danger of beryllium

News Herald reports

GENOA -- A citizens action group is sponsoring a meeting Tuesday night to educate residents about the potential dangers of living near Brush Wellman, a beryllium-processing plant.

Ohio Citizens Action will have the meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Genoa Public Library, 602 West St.

The meeting is open to the public and will provide information about the differences between occupational dangers and community dangers, according to a press release from the Ohio Citizens Action Commission.

Commission members also will discuss how to reduce or eliminate the risk of beryllium exposure.

The lead presenter is Dr. Kathleen Fagan, an occupational medicine specialist, whose training involves toxic exposures. She is also the secretary of the board of directors of Ohio Citizens Action, according to the organization's Web site.

Representatives for the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also will be at the meeting to present an upcoming exposure investigation and to recruit participants.

The ATSDR, a federal public health agency, came out with a draft report in October, looking at the potential impact of beryllium on workers.

The draft was requested by U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine in July, but the report was inconclusive.

Representatives of the ATSDR said in October they planned a follow-up investigation surveying about 30 homes around the plant.

The residents will be current and former Brush Wellman Workers, non-beryllium workers who live near the plant and some who live five to 10 miles from the plant.

The agency also wanted to include those who work with beryllium at other machine shops.