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Berylliosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to beryllium, a chemical irritant to the lungs. With prolonged exposure, the lungs become hypersensitive to it causing the development of small inflammatory nodules, called granulomas[?]. Granulomas are seen in other chronic diseases, such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis[?]. Ultimately, this process leads to restrictive lung disease, a decreased diffusion capacity. Clinically patients experience cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include chest pain, joint aches, weight loss and fever.

Occupations with the highest potential for exposure to beryllium are those involved with primary production, metal machining, and reclaiming scrap alloys. Other high-exposure occupations are in the nuclear power, aerospace, and electronics industries. Some of the modern day uses of beryllium include the following:

  • Nuclear reactors and weapons
  • Inertial guidance systems
  • X-ray tube windows
  • Turbine rotor blades
  • Spark plugs
  • Laser tubes
  • Electrical components
  • Rocket engine liners
  • Ceramic applications
  • Springs, gears, aircraft brakes, aircraft engines, landing gear, and bearings
  • Oil and gas industries
  • Injection and blow mold tooling
  • Welding electrodes
  • Electrical contacts
  • Computer electronics
  • Automotive electronics

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