Beryllium Skin Granulomas From a Broken Fluorescent Tube

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AS there are a large number of beryllium phosphor fluorescent lamp tubes still in use it is important to recognize and, if possible, prevent the specific chronic skin granuloma which can result from lacerations sustained in breaking these tubes. As in the previously reported cases of Grier,1 Coakley,2 Nichol,3 and their co-workers, the following instance resulted from cuts inflicted by a fluorescent lamp tube in which the phosphor was a compound of zinc beryllium silicate, manganese and small amounts of finely divided and dispersed mercury. We have been informed that the fluorescent industry has ceased production of the beryllium containing phosphor.

Van Ordstrand et al.4, 5 have reported a rather extensive series of dermal lesions of different character occurring in workers extracting beryllium compounds from the ore. We are impressed in this case with the similarity of the microscopic picture of granuloma following fluorescent tube cuts to that observed at necropsy in our cases of chronic pulmonary granulomatosis6 in persons exposed to beryllium and/or its compounds.

Case Report

A white man, aged 29, was seen on May 13, 1948, because of relatively painless lesions on the thumb, index and middle finger of his left hand. He stated that these were the sequelae of lacerations from a fluorescent tube which had exploded in his hand without apparent cause 6 months previously. He described the original wounds as having healed by primary intention without sutures. However, they were followed in several weeks by the local unsightly “overgrowth” of tissue resembling small tumors. . .



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