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Title: Beryllium / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
Authors: International Programme on Chemical Safety
World Health Organization
Issue Date: 1990
Publisher: Geneva : World Health Organization
Abstract: Evaluates risks to human health and the environment posed by the use of beryllium, a brittle metal having major applications in the electronics and micro-electronics industries, in nuclear energy, and in the production of military devices, including satellites, missiles, atomic bombs, and other weapons. Beryllium has also proved its superiority as a structural material for aircraft and spacecraft. An evaluation of sources of exposure cites the combustion of fossil fuels as the most important source of atmospheric beryllium, with coal singled out as the main pollutant source. Concerning sources of human exposure, the report notes that toxicologically relevant exposure is almost exclusively confined to the work-place. Only two applications pose a risk to the general population: mantle-type camping lanterns and the use of beryllium in dentistry.The most extensive section evaluates data from the large number of toxicological studies documenting the development of acute chemical pneumonitis and a highly species-specific induction of pulmonary cancer. An evaluation of effects on humans, which concentrates on occupational exposures, summarizes findings on the occurrence of both acute and chronic beryllium disease. The review also yields clinically useful information on exposure levels, characteristic signs and symptoms, and the most reliable diagnostic tests. In view of the controversy concerning the carcinogenicity of beryllium, particularly careful attention was given to several studies reporting a signifcantly elevated risk of lung cancer in exposed workers. Evidence was judged sufficient to confirm the role of beryllium in the development of human lung cancer. The report further concludes that the potential of beryllium to provoke contact allergic reactions, supported by several reports of allergic contact stomatitis in dental patients, calls for a reconsideration of the use of this metal in dentistry
Description: Summary in French and Spanish
210 p.
Subject: Beryllium
Environmental Exposure
Environmental Pollutants
Context: adverse effects
metadata.dc.subject.other: Chemical Toxicology and Carcinogenicity
Other Identifiers: 9241571063
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