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May 1994
 

Documentation for Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs)


Beryllium compounds (as Be)

CAS number 7440-41-7 (Metal)

NIOSH REL Not to exceed 0.0005 mg/m3; NIOSH considers beryllium compounds to be potential occupational carcinogens as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990].

Current OSHA PEL 0.002 mg/m3 TWA, 0.005 mg/m3 CEILING, 0.025 mg/m3 30-minute MAXIMUM PEAK

1989 OSHA PEL Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV 0.002 mg/m3 TWA, A2

Description of Substance Varies

Original (SCP) IDLH* 10 mg Be/m3 [*Note: "Effective" IDLH = 4 mg Be/m3 -- see discussion below.]

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH This IDLH is based on the statement by Patty [1963] that 10 mg/m3 of beryllium fluoride was lethal to several species in 15 days. However, respirators have been assigned on the basis of the assigned protection factor afforded by each device up to 2,000 x the OSHA PEL of 0.002 mg/m3 (i.e., 4 mg/m3); only the "most protective" respirators are permitted for use in concentrations exceeding 4 mg Be/m3.

Short-term exposure guidelines None developed

ACUTE TOXICITY DATA

Lethal dose data:

SpeciesReferenceRouteLD50(mg/kg)LDLo(mg/kg)Adjusted LDDerived Value
BeF2:
RatBlair 1951oral90-----158 mg Be/m316 mg Be/m3
MouseTabershaw 1972oral100-----161 mg Be/m316 mg Be/m3
BeSo4:
RatSazhina 1965oral82-----49 mg Be/m34.9 mg Be/m3
MouseSazhina 1965oral80-----48 mg Be/m34.8 mg Be/m3

Other animal data: It has been reported that 10 mg/m3 of beryllium fluoride (i.e., 2.3 mg Be/m3) was lethal to several species in 15 days [Patty 1963].

Human data: None relevant for use in determining the revised IDLH.

Revised IDLH: 4 mg Be/m3

Basis for revised IDLH: Based on acute toxicity data in animals [Patty 1963; Sazhina 1965], a value of about 5 mg Be/m3 would have been appropriate. However, the revised IDLH for beryllium compounds is 4 mg Be/m3 based on being 2,000 times the OSHA PEL of 0.002 mg Be/m3 (2,000 is an assigned protection factor for respirators; only the "most reliable" respirators are recommended for exposures greater than 2,000 times the OSHA PEL). [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the "most protective" respirators be worn for beryllium compounds at concentrations above 0.0005 mg Be/m3.]

REFERENCES:

  1. Blair HA [1951]. Quarterly technical report (January 1, 1951 through March 31, 1951). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester, Research and Development Report UR-154, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Contract W-7401-eng-49.
  2. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 1006.
  3. Sazhina LA [1965]. Experimental data to substantiate the maximum permissible concentration of beryllium in the water of reservoirs. Gig Sanit 30(1-3):169-176 (translated).
  4. Tabershaw IR, ed. [1972]. The toxicology of beryllium. U.S. Public Health Service Publication 2173:23.
 
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