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Berylliosis

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Abstract

THE metal beryllium, in addition to exhibiting unusual chemometallurgic properties, has in the last decade brought to the attention of the medical world its puzzling physiologic and pathologic effects in man. Up to the present the largest number of cases of beryllium intoxication have occurred in plants engaged in the extraction and processing of beryllium and in the manufacture of fluorescent lamps.1 The least number of cases have been reported from workers engaged in the salvage of fluorescent lamps, in sign tube manufacture, in laboratory research, in the manufacture of ceramic containing beryllium, in the manufacture of beryllium alloys, and in the working of beryllium metal. No known beryllium cases have been reported in the mining, shipping and handling of beryl ore.

Recognition of occupational hazards involving either the derma and/or the respiratory tract came in the early years of the beryllium extraction and processing industry. Since 1940 the authors have observed and treated 461 cases of the various types of beryllium poisoning. Table 1 is a summary of the incidence, mortality and causative compound of the acute manifestations encountered in plants A, B and C. Dermal and ocular manifestations were evident in 202 cases; minor and major respiratory tract involvement occurred in 229 persons. This survey also includes 2 dermal and 31 pulmonary cases of the chronic form of the disease. Many of the cases included have been reported in previous publications.2,3,4

The data in this survey are presented to bring to the attention of the toxicologist, the industrial. . .


 

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