2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 May 2003 13:51:19 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Passing On
Passing On
Chronic beryllium disease takes the life of Rosa Maldonado.
By Kari Redfield
May 28, 2003

Rosa Maldonado, 56, died on May 7 due to complications of chronic
beryllium disease. She is one of 31 former Brush Wellman employees
diagnosed with the disease since the Tucson plant opened in 1980.

CBD is caused by white cells accumulating around beryllium particles in
the lungs, forming a chronic inflammatory reaction called granulomas.
Exposure to fine particles of beryllium causes the incurable lung
disease in 2 to 6 percent of all employees in industries that produce
microscopic-sized beryllium dust particles, but in Tucson's Brush
Wellman plant--in surveys done on old-time machinists--the percentage is
much higher. Dr. Lee Newman, of the National Jewish Medical and Research
Center in Denver--one of the leading medical experts on CBD in the
United States--points out that development of CBD was as high as 20
percent among Tucson Brush Wellman machinists.

Maldonado--profiled in "Something in the Air" on Feb. 13--worked in the
Brush Wellman plant for six years.

Maldonado's family calls her death a relief, in some ways. Her quality
of life deteriorated to the point that she could barely leave her bed,
much less the house.

She required constant liquefied oxygen. She had to use a colostomy bag
because part of her intestine had to be removed due to side effects from
her medication. She had osteoarthritis, diabetes and was especially
susceptible to sicknesses like pneumonia and bronchitis. Between Jan. 1
and April 17, her family says that paramedics were called to the house
at least six times because her life was in danger.

Her family was at her side when she was in the hospital those last
weeks, as they were during previous hospitalizations. She steadily
worsened and was transferred to the ICU on May 4. Finally, the doctor
told the family they had to decide whether to put her life support or
take her to the hospice.

"It makes it look like we're the ones doing it to her," said Maldonado's
daughter Tisha.

Finally, the family was able to help Maldonado decide herself to go to
the hospice. She passed away at 9:58 the morning of May 7.

"Hopefully," said Tisha, "they (Brush Wellman) will have some kind of
conscience, if they're human. They'll remember her and everything she
went through."

Brush Wellman does express sympathy.

"We are deeply saddened by her death," said Human Resources Director Rob
Napoles. "She had many friends when she worked here, and many of those
friends continue to work here. We are all touched by her loss. At this
time, our thoughts are with her family."

Napoles also points out that Brush Ceramic Products remains committed to
eradicating CBD from the workplace, and to that end, numerous safety
measures have been implemented to further protect workers inside the
plant, including enhanced ventilation systems and employer-mandated HEPA
air filtering respirators worn by workers to prevent inhalation of
beryllium powder.

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