Berylliosis

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Berylliosis
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J63.2
ICD-9 503
eMedicine med/222

Berylliosis, or chronic beryllium disease (CBD), is a chronic allergic-type lung response and chronic lung disease caused by exposure to beryllium and its compounds. As an occupational lung disease, it is most classically associated with aerospace manufacturing, beryllium mining or manufacturing of fluorescent light bulbs (which used to contain beryllium compounds in their internal phosphor coating).[1][2]

The condition is incurable, but symptoms can be treated.[3]

Symptoms[edit]

With single or prolonged exposure by inhalation, the lungs become hypersensitive to beryllium causing the development of small inflammatory nodules, called granulomas.

Granulomas are seen in other chronic diseases, such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis, and it can occasionally be hard to distinguish berylliosis from these disorders.

Ultimately, this process leads to restrictive lung disease, a decreased diffusion capacity.

Clinically patients experience cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include chest pain, joint aches, weight loss and fever.

Rarely, one can get granulomas in other organs including the liver.

The onset of symptoms can range from weeks up to tens of years from the initial exposure. In some individuals a single exposure can cause berylliosis.

History as occupational disease[edit]

Cases of bronchitis and pneumonia-like symptoms were reported in Germany and Russia in the 1930s, among workers mining and refining beryllium. By 1946, a cluster of cases associated with fluorescent lamp manufacturers were apparent in the United States, and the lamp industry stopped using beryllium in 1949. The level of reaction of individuals varies greatly, with some not developing symptoms until years after exposure within industrial plants, but other workers only exposed to traces of dust became affected as well. A study found 1% of people living within 3/4 of a mile of a beryllium plant in Lorain, Ohio, had berylliosis after exposure to concentrations estimated to be less than 1 milligram per cubic metre of air. In the United States the Beryllium Case Registry contained 900 records, early cases relating to extraction and fluorescent lamp manufacture, later ones coming from the aerospace, ceramics and metallurgical industries. [4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. "USACHPPM: Just the Facts: Beryllium Exposure & Berylliosis". Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  2. ^ General Electric Fluorescent Lamps TP 111R, Dec. 1978, says on pg. 23 that since 1949 GE lamps used relatively inert phosphates found to be safe in ordinary handling of either the intact or broken lamp.
  3. ^ Dweik, Raed A (2008-11-19). "Berylliosis: Treatment & Medication". Medscape. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  4. ^ David Geraint James, Alimuddin Zumla, The granulomatous disorders, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-59221-6, pages 336-337
  5. ^ Brown University Medical School. "Berylliosis". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 

External links[edit]