National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
- Acute Beryllium Disease
- Beryllium Granulomatosis
- Beryllium Pneumonosis
- Beryllium Poisoning
- Acute Berylliosis (Acute Beryllium Disease)
- Chronic Berylliosis (Chronic Beryllium Disease [CBD])
Berylliosis is a form of metal poisoning caused by inhalation of beryllium dusts, vapors, or its compounds or implantation of the substance in the skin. The toxic effects of beryllium most commonly occur due to occupational exposure. Beryllium is a metallic element used in many industries, including electronics, high-technology ceramics, metals extraction, and dental alloy preparation.
There are two forms of beryllium-induced lung disease, acute and chronic. Acute berylliosis has a sudden, rapid onset and is characterized by severe inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis), coughing, increasing breathlessness (dyspnea), and other associated symptoms and findings. In addition, in some individuals, the skin or the eyes may be affected. The more common, chronic form of the disease develops more slowly and, in some cases, may not become apparent for many years after initial beryllium exposure. Chronic berylliosis is characterized by the abnormal formation of inflammatory masses or nodules (granulomas) within certain tissues and organs and widespread scarring and thickening of deep lung tissues (interstitial pulmonary fibrosis). Although granuloma development primarily affects the lungs, it may also occur within other bodily tissues and organs, such as the skin and underlying (subcutaneous) tissues or the liver. In individuals with chronic berylliosis, associated symptoms and findings often include dry coughing, fatigue, weight loss, chest pain, and increasing shortness of breath.
American Lung Association
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Washington, DC 20004
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Office of Communications and Government Relations
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Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
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Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
P.O. Box 6806
Falls Church, VA 22040-6806
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Last Updated: 4/7/2009
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