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EC number: 231-150-7
CAS number: 7440-41-7
Chemical sensitisation has not been demonstrated in persons
exposed to insoluble forms of beryllium either in massive or particulate
forms. The study by Curtis, the only human study looking for evidence of
a physical beryllium sensitisation reaction occurring through intact
human skin, found no sensitisation reaction using insoluble forms of
beryllium. The Curtis human study found 8 of 16 controls (not
occupationally exposed to beryllium), who had been skin patch tested,
developed an allergic-eczematous dermatitis (sensitisation) using
soluble beryllium salts. Curtis ruled out anions, acidity and primary
irritancy of beryllium salts as direct factors in causing allergic
dermatitis. He also found examples of patients who had acute pneumonitis
from exposure to airborne beryllium salts without skin
sensitisation. Curtis concluded that there was no sensitisation as the
result of applying insoluble beryllium in the forms of beryllium oxide
powder, beryllium metal powder and disks of metallic beryllium to the
skin. Curtis did find two cases of skin sensitisation handling metallic
beryllium powder, but concluded that they were the result of residual
beryllium fluoride (soluble beryllium salt) in the powder. The problem
of residual beryllium fluoride in metallic beryllium powder was resolved
in the early 1950s when the additional purification step of vacuum
casting was added to the processing methodology in manufacturing
G.H. Cutaneous Hypersensitivity Due to Beryllium: A Study of 13
Cases. AMA Arch Dermatol Syph 64: 470–482 (1951).
Migrated from Short description of key information:
A guinea pig maximization test is available. Furthermore, relevant
publications are included considered to add to the information.
Beryllium metal does not cause respiratory sensitisation as
defined by the Globally Harmonized System that defines a sensitiser as a
chemical that causes a substantial proportion of exposed people or
animals todevelop anallergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated
exposureto the chemical. Achemical allergyis an adverse reaction to a
chemical resulting from previous sensitisation to that chemical or to
one that is structurally similar. A chemical allergy is initiated by the
immune system and expressed as hypersensitivity; after an initial
allergic reaction to a chemical, very small subsequent exposures can
evoke a severe response. The range of chemical sensitisation response is
broad and can manifest itself in forms such as a skin rash, eye
irritation, allergic asthma, or even anaphylactic shock. Beryllium
sensitisation refers to immunological response by persons whose immune
system is genetically susceptible to recognizing the presence of
beryllium. Occupational exposure to insoluble forms of beryllium is not
at all associated within the above generally accepted concepts of a
chemical sensitiser. Chemical sensitisation has not been demonstrated in
persons exposed to insoluble forms of beryllium either in massive or
particulate. Furthermore, Chapter 3.4 of Global Harmonized System (GHS)
“A respiratory sensitiser is a substance that will lead to
hypersensitivity of the airways following inhalation of the substance.
“A skin sensitiser is a substance that will lead to an allergic
response followed by skin contact.
“For the purpose of this chapter, sensitisation includes two
phases: the first phase is the induction of specialized immunological
memory in an individual by exposure to an allergen. The second phase is
the elicitation, i.e. production of a cell-mediated or antibody-mediated
allergic response by exposure of a sensitized individual to an allergen.
“For respiratory sensitisation the pattern of induction followed
by elicitation phases is shared in common with skin sensitisation.
“Usually, for both skin and respiratory sensitisation, lower
levels are necessary for elicitation than are required for induction.
“Evidence that a substance can induce specific hypersensitivity
will normally be based on human experience. In this context,
hypersensitivity is normally seen as asthma, but other reactions such as
rhinitis/conjunctivitis and alveolitis are also considered. The
condition will have the clinical character of an allergic reaction.”
In summary, occupational exposure to insoluble forms of beryllium
is not associated within the above generally accepted concepts of a
chemical sensitiser. There is no dermal sensitisation reaction, such as
skin rash, hives, and irritation of the nose, throat, skin or eye,
associated with dermal exposures to insoluble forms of beryllium. There
is no short-term respiratory reaction, such as allergy or asthma
involving shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheeze, cough and
irritation, associated with airborne exposures to insoluble forms of
For insoluble forms of beryllium to be considered a respiratory
sensitiser, observations of the exposed population would indicate that a
sub-group of short-term workers exposed to low concentrations of
airborne beryllium would suddenly start to develop strong respiratory
symptoms upon each entry of the facility (asthma-like crisis, shortness
of breath, etc.). This has not been the case, even in primary beryllium
Nations, Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of
Chemicals 147-155 (2007)
Migrated from Short description of key information:
Statement from occupational health surveillance.
sensitisation has not been demonstrated in persons exposed to
insoluble forms of beryllium either in massive or particulate forms.
metal does not cause respiratory sensitisation as defined by the
Globally Harmonized System. Occupational health surveillance of
beryllium metal production workers has indicated that exposure to
beryllium metal is not associated with the development of
respiratory allergic reactions such as asthma and rhinitis.
Information on Registered Substances comes from registration dossiers which have been assigned a registration number. The assignment of a registration number does however not guarantee that the information in the dossier is correct or that the dossier is compliant with Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (the REACH Regulation). This information has not been reviewed or verified by the Agency or any other authority. The content is subject to change without prior notice.Reproduction or further distribution of this information may be subject to copyright protection. Use of the information without obtaining the permission from the owner(s) of the respective information might violate the rights of the owner.
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