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 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]



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, 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

Cases of bronchitis and pneumonia-like symptoms were reported in Germany and Russia in the 1930's, 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 ceramics and metallurgical industries. [4]


  1. ^ U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. "USACHPPM: Just the Facts: Beryllium Exposure & Berylliosis". Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  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 0521592216, pages 336-337

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • berylliosis — [bə ril΄ē ō′sis] n. pl. beryllioses [bə ril΄ē ō′sēz΄] a serious disease caused by beryllium poisoning, usually found in the lungs from the inhalation of beryllium fumes or particles …   English World dictionary

  • berylliosis — Beryllium poisoning characterized by the occurrence of acute pneumonia or chronic interstitial granulomatous fibrosis, especially of the lungs, from inhalation of beryllium. * * * be·ryl·li·o·sis bə .ril ē ō səs also ber·yl …   Medical dictionary

  • berylliosis — /beuh ril ee oh sis/, n. Pathol. beryllium poisoning, characterized by the formation of granulomas, primarily affecting the lungs and causing a cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. [BERYLLI(UM) + OSIS] * * * ▪ disease       systemic… …   Universalium

  • berylliosis — n. poisoning by beryllium or its compounds, either by inhalation or by skin contamination. Inhalation of fumes from molten beryllium causes an acute alveolitis and is usually fatal. Subacute and chronic forms can result from extremely low levels… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • berylliosis — noun a chronic disease of the lungs caused by inhalation of beryllium compounds …   Wiktionary

  • berylliosis — be·ryl·li·o·sis …   English syllables

  • berylliosis — …   Useful english dictionary

  • chronic berylliosis — the usual form of berylliosis, characterized by beryllium granulomas (q.v.), a diffuse inflammatory reaction that may be indistinguishable from sarcoidosis, and sometimes dyspnea and hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy. In time the granulomas …   Medical dictionary

  • Бериллиоз (Berylliosis) — отравление бериллием или его соединениями, развивающееся либо при вдыхании паров бериллия, либо при его попадании на кожу. Вдыхание паров жидкого бериллия вызывает у человека острый альвеолит и обычно заканчивается смертью больного. Подострая и… …   Медицинские термины

  • acute berylliosis — an often fulminating reaction to inhalation of beryllium, characterized by a toxic or allergic pneumonitis, sometimes with rhinitis, pharyngitis, and tracheobronchitis. Symptoms may last for weeks, and serious cases can be fatal …   Medical dictionary

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