Beryllium, some of its alloys, and a variety of its compounds have induced malignant tumors of the lung and osteogenic sarcoma in experimental animals. Three animal species, monkeys, rabbits, and rats, have been shown to be susceptible. Beryllium induces morphological transformation in mammalian cells and enhances viral transformation of mammalian cells. It has been shown to decrease fidelity of DNA synthesis. It has been recognized that exposure to compounds of this metal will, in some individuals, result in a chronic granulomatous disease of the lung. A series of overlapping recent human epidemiological studies have been suggestive of an increase in the incidence of lung cancer in populations occupationally exposed to beryllium. Such studies, together with animal and in vitro studies, argue for the strong presumption of a carcinogenic hazard to man in occupational beryllium exposures.
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