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November 29, 1947


JAMA. 1947;135(13):840-841. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890130030013

Beryllium, one of the rare metals, was discovered in 1798 by Vauquelin. When combined with other metals, beryllium produces alloys that almost completely eliminate effects of strain and stress. Pure beryllium is obtained by processing beryllium oxyfluoride. Weber and Engelhardt1 described respiratory conditions that occur among workers employed in the extraction of beryllium. Fabroni of the Occupational Diseases Clinic in Milan, Italy, produced pulmonary lesions in guinea pigs by exposing them to fumes of beryllium carbonate. He called this specific form of pulmonary disease "berylliosis." Gelman and his co-workers2 of the Obuch Institute for Occupational Diseases in Moscow observed cases of severe poisoning in workers exposed to vapors in the process of extracting beryllium from its fluorides. The clinical course was characterized by a two phase development. The first phase consisted of a chill and fever much like "metal-fume" fever. The second phase developed after one to four