Ethical considerations in testing workers for the -Glu69 marker of genetic susceptibility to chronic beryllium disease

Ken Silver, Richard R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The most compelling real-world example of genetic testing for susceptibility to a workplace exposure involves those industries that process or fabricate beryllium. We examined ethical issues associated with testing for susceptibility to chronic beryllium disease. METHODS: Using ethical and clinical criteria, we examined voluntary employer-sponsored testing programs in which individual results are reported directly to workers in a confidential manner. RESULTS: Under reasonable assumptions, the longitudinal positive predictive value of the HLA-DPB1-Glu69 marker of susceptibility to beryllium disease is 12%. Interpretive challenges further limit the utility of the test and may inadvertently suggest a false sense of safety among workers. Concerns about confidential participation and pressures to be tested also must be addressed. CONCLUSIONS: Difficulties surrounding the interpretation of the HLA-DPB1-Glu69 marker, lack of assurance regarding the protection of worker confidentiality, and the potential lowering of social barriers to the implementation of mandatory worker screening combine to make testing beryllium workers inappropriate at this time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-443
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Berylliosis
Beryllium
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Chronic Disease
Mandatory Testing
Confidentiality
Genetic Testing
Ethics
Workplace
Industry
Safety
Pressure
HLA-DPB1 antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

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