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Injuries Blamed on Beryllium Saw Fumes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CN) - A worker says she suffered permanent respiratory damage from working with a saw containing beryllium, a toxic chemical. Lisa Monahan says she was overcome by toxic fumes from the saw blade that her employer, Richardson Trident Co., bought from Metal Saw Systems.

Monahan says in her federal complaint that Metal Saw Systems "installed the saw in the facility at plaintiff's employer and was negligent in failing to install a proper exhaust device when it knew or should have known that using beryllium copper blades would emit fumes throughout the facility.

Beryllium is a hardening agent in alloys, notably beryllium copper. Berrylium-containing dust can cause respiratory illnesses, including berylliosis.

"Breathing beryllium can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, causing nasal discharge, tightness in the chest, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever," according to the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine.

"Nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste may occur. Bronchitis and/or pneumonia may occur one to two days after exposure, causing pulmonary edema and death in severe cases."

Monahan seeks more than $75,000 in damages. She is represented by Michael Hodges of Lenexa, Kan.

Defendants include Metal Saw Systems and the blade manufacturers: Brush Engineered Materials Inc., Brush Wellman Inc., Technical Materials Inc., and Williams Advanced Materials Inc.

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