Aerosols generated during beryllium machining

J Occup Environ Med. 2000 Jan;42(1):8-18. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200001000-00006.


Some beryllium processes, especially machining, are associated with an increased risk of beryllium sensitization and disease. Little is known about exposure characteristics contributing to risk, such as particle size. This study examined the characteristics of beryllium machining exposures under actual working conditions. Stationary samples, using eight-stage Lovelace Multijet Cascade Impactors, were taken at the process point of operation and at the closest point that the worker would routinely approach. Paired samples were collected at the operator's breathing zone by using a Marple Personal Cascade Impactor and a 35-mm closed-faced cassette. More than 50% of the beryllium machining particles in the breathing zone were less than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter. This small particle size may result in beryllium deposition into the deepest portion of the lung and may explain elevated rates of sensitization among beryllium machinists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis*
  • Beryllium / analysis*
  • Beryllium / pharmacokinetics
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Particle Size
  • Volatilization


  • Aerosols
  • Beryllium