Beryllium compounds (as Be)
The content of this page is from the NIOSH Documentation for Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs) (1994)pdf icon. The IDLH value for beryllium has not changed, but other information on this page has been changed, including updated exposure limits, updated respirator recommendations, and a new NIOSH Carcinogen Policy. For the most up to date information on Beryllium see the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)
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  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:
|Species||Reference||Route||LD50(mg/kg)||LDLo(mg/kg)||Adjusted LD||Derived Value|
|Rat||Blair 1951||oral||90||—–||158 mg Be/m3||16 mg Be/m3|
|Mouse||Tabershaw 1972||oral||100||—–||161 mg Be/m3||16 mg Be/m3|
|Rat||Sazhina 1965||oral||82||—–||49 mg Be/m3||4.9 mg Be/m3|
|Mouse||Sazhina 1965||oral||80||—–||48 mg Be/m3||4.8 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/m3Basis 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.]|
- Blair HA . 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.
- Patty FA, ed. . Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 1006.
- Sazhina LA . Experimental data to substantiate the maximum permissible concentration of beryllium in the water of reservoirs. Gig Sanit 30(1-3):169-176 (translated).
- Tabershaw IR, ed. . The toxicology of beryllium. U.S. Public Health Service Publication 2173:23.