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Chronic Beryllium Disease

Chronic beryllium disease, or CBD, causes scarring of the lung tissue. It occurs when a person inhales dust or fumes of beryllium — a naturally occurring lightweight material — and has become sensitized to this material. Beryllium is used in various industries, such as electronics, aerospace, dental, atomic energy and defense.

Our Approach to Chronic Beryllium Disease

UCSF provides comprehensive evaluations and care for work-related lung conditions, such as chronic beryllium disease. We offer a wide range of pulmonary function tests as well as flexible bronchoscopy to examine the airways.

Although chronic beryllium disease currently has no cure, treatments can prevent further scarring in the lungs and improve oxygen levels in the blood. These include drugs that suppress the immune system's response to beryllium and devices that deliver supplemental oxygen. Our goals are to slow the disease's progression and help our patients feel better.

Lung transplantation may be an option for severe cases. UCSF is currently the top lung transplant program in the U.S. for higher-than-expected patient survival rates and graft survival rates (ongoing function of the transplanted lungs).

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-pulmonology

    Best in Northern California for pulmonology & lung surgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.