Biological exposure metrics of beryllium-exposed dental technicians

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2014;69(2):89-99. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2012.744736.


Beryllium is commonly used in the dental industry. This study investigates the association between particle size and shape in induced sputum (IS) with beryllium exposure and oxidative stress in 83 dental technicians. Particle size and shape were defined by laser and video, whereas beryllium exposure data came from self-reports and beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) results. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO1) gene expression in IS was evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A high content of particles (92%) in IS >5 μ in size is correlated to a positive BeLPT risk (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.9-13). Use of masks, hoods, and type of exposure yielded differences in the transparency of IS particles (gray level) and modulate HO1 levels. These results indicate that parameters of size and shape of particles in IS are sensitive to workplace hygiene, affect the level of oxidative stress, and may be potential markers for monitoring hazardous dust exposures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Berylliosis / epidemiology*
  • Berylliosis / prevention & control
  • Beryllium / chemistry
  • Beryllium / toxicity*
  • Dental Technicians
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Particle Size
  • Protective Devices
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Sputum / chemistry*
  • Sputum / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Beryllium