Toxin Profiles

Substance Name

Beryllium
Identification Number: CASRN | 7440-41-7

  Nastiness Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.

    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Serious Acute Effects

    This is a serious nasty substance. Effects are Acute (seen immediately). Substances in this category may be FATAL or acutely toxic if inhaled, skin contact or swallowed. See further details.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.


  • CATEGORIES: Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Cigarette Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Inorganic Compounds | Homogeneous Metal Compounds | Homogeneous Alkaline Earth Metal Compounds | | Homogeneous Alkaline Earth Metal Compounds
  • SYNONYMS: Be(2+) | Be2+ | Berylliium(II) cation | Beryllium ion | Beryllium(2+) | Beryllium(2+) ion | Beryllium(II) | Beryllium(II) ion
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Beryllium is a light-weight metallic element, which was first recognized as a lung hazard in Europe in the 1930s, shortly after its first production in modern industry. People exposed to beryllium compounds are at increased risk of developing beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD). The chronic lung disease was first described among workers exposed to beryllium-containing materials used in the manufacture of fluorescent lamps. In primary production of beryllium metal, which was used in nuclear weapons components, physicians recognized severe dermatitis, reversible pneumonitis, and chronic granulomatous lung disease. Physiologically, this metal/element exists as an ion in the body. It is now recognized that the physicochemical properties of beryllium compounds may account for the differing clinical presentations in different industries. In primary production of beryllium metal, soluble salts are present and cause rashes in approximately one fourth of exposed workers and reversible acute pneumonitis in a smaller portion of the workforce. After heavy inhalation exposures, radiographic abnormalities evolve at approximately three weeks; resolution of symptoms and radiologic abnormalities away from exposure occur only after months, but symptoms recur immediately upon reexposure. The granulomatous nature of chronic beryllium disease is now known to be caused by cell-mediated sensitization to beryllium. Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) is a granulomatous lung disorder characterized by the accumulation of beryllium-specific CD4(+) T cells. Depending on genetic susceptibility and the nature of the exposure, CBD occurs in up to 20% of exposed workers. Genetic susceptibility has been associated with particular HLA-DP alleles, especially those possessing a negatively charged glutamic acid residue at the 69th position of the beta-chain. The mechanism for this association lies in the ability of these HLA-DP molecules to bind and present beryllium to pathogenic CD4(+) T cells. Large numbers of effector memory, beryllium-specific CD4(+) T cells are recruited to the lung of these subjects and secrete Th1-type cytokines upon beryllium recognition. The presence of circulating beryllium-specific CD4(+) T cells directly correlates with the severity of lymphocytic alveolitis. Since 1987, this biomarker of sensitization has enabled medical surveillance of beryllium-exposed workforces. Beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests have been used to screen workers to detect sensitization, to characterize epidemiologically workplace risks for beryllium sensitization, and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions intended to prevent sensitization. The most compelling real-world example of genetic testing for susceptibility to a workplace exposure involves those industries that process or fabricate beryllium. Under reasonable assumptions, the longitudinal positive predictive value of the HLA-DPB1-Glu69 marker of susceptibility to beryllium disease is 12%. Interpretive challenges further limit the utility of the test and may inadvertently suggest a false sense of safety among workers. Reduction in inhalation exposure to beryllium has not resulted in a concomitant reduction in the occurrence of beryllium sensitization or CBD, suggesting that continued prevalence may be due, in part, to unchecked skin exposure to beryllium-containing particles. (A7679, A7681, A7682).
  • COMMENTS: From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia: May cause cancer. Fatal if inhaled. Toxic if swallowed. Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure . Causes serious eye irritation. May cause respiratory irritation. Causes skin irritation. May cause an allergic skin reaction | Chronic Health Hazard Acutely Toxic | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: Be
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | EPA_IRIS | OEHHA | EPA in USA | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 21/04/2015

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Chronic beryllium disease causes fatigue, weakness, difficulty breathing, and a persistent dry cough.(L24, L25)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Acute inhalation of a high level of beryllium can result in a pneumonia-like condition called acute beryllium disease. Chronic inhalation of beryllium can caused an inflammatory reaction in the respiratory system called chronic beryllium disease. Chronic beryllium disease may result in anorexia and weight loss, as well as right side heart enlargement and heart disease in advanced cases. Chronic exposure can also increase the risk of lung cancer. Skin contact with beryllium results in contact dermatitis.(L24, L25) | Beryllium is absorbed mainly through the lungs, where it enters the bloodstream and is transported throughout the body by binding to prealbumins and γ-globulins. Beryllium accumulates in lung tissue and the skeleton. It is excreted mainly in the urine. (L25)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Once in the body, beryllium acts as a hapten and interacts with human leucocyte antigen (HLA) DP presenting cells in the lungs, becoming physically associated with a major histocompatability (MHC) class II molecule. This MHC class II-beryllium-peptide complex is recognized by the T lymphocyte receptor, triggering CD4+ T lymphocyte activation and proliferation. The resulting inflammatory response is a cell-mediated process orchestrated by cytokines and results in the formation of (usually pulmonary) granulomas. Beryllium's toxicity may be controlled by the iron-storage protein ferritin, which sequesters beryllium by binding it and preventing it from interacting with other enzymes. (L25, A37, A91) | Once in the body, beryllium acts as a hapten and interacts with human leucocyte antigen (HLA) DP presenting cells in the lungs, becoming physically associated with a major histocompatability (MHC) class II molecule. This MHC class II-beryllium-peptide complex is recognized by the T lymphocyte receptor, triggering CD4+ T lymphocyte activation and proliferation. The resulting inflammatory response is a cell-mediated process orchestrated by cytokines and results in the formation of (usually pulmonary) granulomas. (L25, A37)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Beryllium is purified for use in nuclear weapons and reactors, aircraft and space vehicle structures, instruments, x-ray machines, and mirrors. Beryllium ores are used to make speciality ceramics for electrical and high-technology applications. Beryllium is often found in alloys which are used in automobiles, computers, sports equipment, and dental bridges. (L24)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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