Beryllium Toxicity and Hair Testing

Beryllium Toxicity and Hair Testing

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Beryllium Toxicity and Environmental Exposures

People who work with beryllium as part of their employment have the greatest risk of developing health issues from beryllium.  People with  only infrequent exposure to beryllium may still develop health effects. Some develop health effects shortly after exposure, others  develop health effects many years after exposure has stopped. Once a person has been exposed to beryllium, they have a lifelong risk of developing disease even if exposure stops.

Beryllium is a mineral found in nature. It is extracted from mineral deposits and used for many commercial purposes. Industries that use beryllium include:

  • aerospace
  • aircraft manufacture and maintenance
  • computers
  • dental laboratories
  • telecommunications
  • foundries and metal reclamation
  • exposures to beryllium can include contaminated well water
  • beryllium is found in drilling muds, glass, ceramic glazes, paper, pesticides and X-Ray contrast material.

Disorders From Beryllium Toxicity

  • Inhalation with insoluble form causes of  beryllium cases benign pneumoconiosis (Baritosis) and the soluble salts cause hypokalemia.
  • Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) or berylliosis is usually the result of a long-term exposure to beryllium oxide and usually caused by inhalation.
  • Affects the lungs and/or skin.
  • Beryllium toxicity usually affects the respiratory system
  • Acute poisoning from beryllium has issues that include:
    • smooth muscle stimulation
    • vomiting
    • colic
    • diarrhea
    • eventual paralysis