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Chapter 8

ressing into clinical disease, can be diagnosed in vitro by the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test. Such sensitization can progress into clinical CBD, potentially followed by beryllium-specific immunity, chronic inflammatory response mostly within the lung, measurable physiological derangement, disability, and, ultimately, death (7).

A series of adverse reactions to beryllium at the cellular and molecular level have been noted. Among these are enzyme induction, inhibition of magnesium- and potassium-activated enzymes, cell transformation, infidelity of DNA synthesis, and inhibition of protein phosphorylation and cell division (8).

The carcinogenic action of beryllium is well established in several animal species but is questionable in humans (9). On a relative scale of carcinogenic metals based on a model combining human, animal, and short-term predictive data, beryllium compounds were ranked behind only those of nickel and chromium in activity, comparable with arsenic and cadmium (10).

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