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The Natural History of Beryllium Sensitization and Chronic Beryllium Disease

Lee S. Newman, Jenifer Lloyd and Elaine Daniloff
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 104, Supplement 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 937-943
DOI: 10.2307/3433014
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3433014
Page Count: 7
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The Natural History of Beryllium Sensitization and Chronic Beryllium Disease
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Abstract

With the advent of in vitro immunologic testing, we can now detect exposed individuals who are sensitized to beryllium and those who have chronic beryllium disease (CBD) with lung pathology and impairment. Earlier detection and more accurate diagnostic tools raise new questions about the natural history of sensitization and granulomatous disease. Preliminary data suggest that early detection identifies people who are sensitized to beryllium and that these individuals are at risk for progressing into clinical disease. This article discusses the historical, recent, and ongoing studies germane to our understanding of CBD natural history, including the immunologic and inflammatory basis of the disease, the environmental and host risk factors for disease progression, biological markers of disease severity and activity that may help predict outcome, and the implications for broad-based workplace screening to identify patients at the earliest stages of beryllium sensitization and disease.

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