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Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds (as Be)

General Description

Synonyms: Beryllium metal; Beryllium; Other synonyms vary depending upon the specific beryllium compound

OSHA IMIS code: 0360

CAS number: 7440-41-7 (elemental); Varies depending on specific beryllium compound

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • mixed cellulose ester filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 L
  • minimum volume: 480 L
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (TWA)
  • maximum volume: 60 L
  • minimum time: 30 min
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (ceiling)
  • maximum volume: 30 L
  • minimum time: 15 min
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (Peak)
  • current analytical method: inductively coupled argon plasma; ICP/DCP-AES
  • method reference: OSHA ID-125G (fully validated)
  • note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period for a time weighted average determination.

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs

OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

(See also ANSI Z37.29-1970)

0.002 mg/m3 TWA
0.005 mg/m3 Ceiling
0.025 mg/m3 Peak (30 minutes)
HE10 -- chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis)
HE11 -- pneumonitis
HE14 -- beryllium granuloma, contact dermatitis
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
0.002 mg/m3 TWA HE10 -- chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis)
HE11 -- pneumonitis
HE14 -- beryllium granuloma, contact dermatitis
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
0.002 mg/m3 TWA HE10 -- chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis)
HE11 -- pneumonitis
HE14 -- beryllium granuloma, contact dermatitis
NIOSH REL 0.0005 mg/m3 Ceiling
See Appendix A
HE2 -- lung cancer
HE3 -- kidney stones; enlargement of the liver, spleen, and heart; multiple granulomas of the lung, spleen, liver, and lymph nodes
HE4 -- heart failure leading to death
HE10 -- tracheobronchitis, pneumonitis
HE11 -- pulmonary edema leading to death
HE14 -- eye, upper respiratory, and skin irritation; contact dermatitis
ACGIH TLV® (2008) 0.00005 mg/m3 TWA (inhalable particulate matter)
Skin; dermal sensitizer (DSEN); respiratory sensitizer (RSEN)
HE9 -- beryllium sensitization
HE10 -- chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis)
CAL/OSHA PELs 0.0002 mg/m3 TWA
0.025 mg/m3 Ceiling
HE9 -- beryllium sensitization
HE10 -- granulomas of the lung

A type of skin lesion.
A granulomatous, restrictive lung disease.

Carcinogenic classification:

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 2x10-5 mg/m3

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): Not established

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 4 mg/m3

Notes on other potential health effects and hazards:

  1. Beryllium is combustible, and finely dispersed particles may form explosive mixtures (NIOSH/IPCS 1999).
  2. Occupational exposure to beryllium may be related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and nervous system and urinary tract cancers (Schubauer-Berigan et al. 2011).
  3. EPA RfC based on studies in workers showing beryllium sensitization progressing to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Kreiss 1996)
  4. Exposure to beryllium can be detected by a blood test, the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (Newman 2004).

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Beryllium and Compounds. 2016.
  • ANSI: American National Standard Acceptable Concentrations of Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds. May 26, 1970.
  • California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board Initial and Final Statement of Reasons July 6, 2006.
  • EPA: Integrated Risk Information System - Beryllium and compounds (CASRN 7440-41-7). 1998.
  • IARC: Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to HumansBeryllium and Compounds. 2010.
  • Kreiss, K; Mroz, MM; Newman, LS; et al. (1996) Machining risk of beryllium disease and sensitization with median exposures below 2 MU-G/M(3). Am J Ind Med 30(1):16-25.
  • Newman LS, Mroz MM, Balkissoon RC, Maier LA. Beryllium sensitization progresses to chronic beryllium disease: a longitudinal study of disease risk. Am J Respir Crit Car Med 2004 2004
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety CardsBeryllium. October 20, 1999.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Beryllium and Its Compounds. 1988.
  • NTP: Report on Carcinogens 12th Edition Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds 2011.
  • Schubauer-Berigan MK, Couch JR, Petersen MR, Carreón T, Jin Y, Deddens JA: Cohort mortality study of workers at seven beryllium processing plants - update and associations with cumulative and maximum exposure. Occup Environ Med. 68(5):345-53, May 2011.

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