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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 Number: 0360
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7440-41-7 (elemental); Varies depending on specific beryllium compound
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: DS1750000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1566 154 (compounds); 1567 134 (powder)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds (as Be): Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary, Beryllium Compounds: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-2
(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

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
See Appendix A

0.0005 mg/m3 Ceiling


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
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV)

0.00005 mg/m3 TWA (inhalable particulate matter)

Skin; dermal sensitizer (DSEN); respiratory sensitizer (RSEN)

HE9 Beryllium sensitization
HE10 Chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis**)

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.

  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be a human carcinogen.
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1, carcinogenic to humans
  • EPA carcinogenic classification: Probable human carcinogen - based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and known/likely human carcinogen (inhalation route)
  • EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 2x10-5 mg/m3
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 4 mg/m3
  • Notes:
    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).
  • Literature Basis:
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Beryllium and Compounds. 2009.
    • 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 Beryllium and compounds (CASRN 7440-41-7) 1998
    • IARC Monograph 101-c7 Beryllium 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/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Beryllium. 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.
  • Date Last Revised: 10/03/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • minimum volume: 480 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (TWA)
  • maximum volume: 60 Liters
  • minimum time: 30 Minutes
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (ceiling)
  • maximum volume: 30 Liters
  • minimum time: 15 Minutes
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (Peak)
  • current analytical method: Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma; ICP/DCP-AES
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-125G)
  • method classification: 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.

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