Berullium (9,0 a.m.u.) – Alkaline-earth metal of IInd periodic group. Widely used in manufacturing and medicine (X-ray machines). Physiological role of beryllium isn’t researched well enough, but it was proven that beryllium participates in regulation of phosphorus-calcium exchange and supports the immune system. Content of beryllium in adult human body is from 0,4 up to 40 mcg. It could be found in almost all the tissues and organs, including hair and nails.
Beryllium is a highly-toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic agent, however there is no data on its’ toxic and lethal doses. Beryllium salts arrests alkaline phosphatase and other ferments. Beryllium decreases and destroys bone tissue, damages lungs (fibrosis), skin (eczema, dermatosis), eye mucosa (foundryman’s fever), could become a reason of autoimmune processes. Magnesium is an antagonist of beryllium (their chemical characteristics are similar) – reason of down-regulation of magnesium ferments in cells. This is the reason why magnesium agents together with Toxic microelement in treatment of beryllium intoxication.
Beryllium intoxication is mostly caused by professional factors. Manufacturing sources of beryllium are linked with metal beneficiating, atomic, space, electronic, electro-technical manufacturing and production of rocket technologies. Beryllium alloys are strong and light, are widely used in household, including dentistry materials (higher beryllium exposure risk among dental technicians is being researched and discussed). Beryllium intoxication is mostly happening by inhalation of industrial inhalants and dust with higher concentration of this element.
Chronic inhalation of industrial dust, containing beryllium could cause the progression of chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis), leading to granulomas in lungs as a result of body immune reaction to the presence of beryllium agents. Disease could progress even in long-term perspective after the effects of moderate quantities of beryllium. Effect of idiosyncrasy and individual variations on beryllium is described. Contact of beryllium with damaged skin areas (wounds, abrasion) could cause lesion or ulcus. Foundry men could also face ocular and respiratory passages irritation.
Toxic effect of beryllium is associated with increased quantity of lungs cancer occasions. Concentration of beryllium in body bio-substrates may not correlate with the development of beryllium disease, but is an optional component of optimal diagnostics together with x-ray and immunologic methods.