To improve worker protection, OSHA has lowered the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium in general industry from 2 µg/m3 to 0.2 µg/m3 (8-hour TWA). SGS Galson has the capability in place to handle this change, provide defensible data to the detection limit required and make it easy for you to collect samples.


According to OSHA, “the new beryllium standards for general industry, construction and shipyards will require employers to take additional, practical measures to protect an estimated 62,000 workers from these serious risks.”  OSHA estimates that the rule will save 94 workers’ lives per year from beryllium-related diseases and prevent 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease.


The majority of current worker exposures to beryllium occur in operations such as foundry and smelting operations, machining, beryllium oxide ceramics and composites manufacturing and dental lab work. OSHA estimates that about 35,000 people are exposed to beryllium in their workplaces. The Department of Energy and larger users of beryllium have already established an exposure limit of 0.2 µg/m3.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the material as carcinogenic to humans, and inhalation or skin contact with beryllium mist, dust, or fumes can cause chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a debilitating, incurable, and sometimes fatal lung disease.

Old OSHA PEL:          2.0 µg /m3
New OSHA PEL:        0.2 µg/m3
New STEL:                 2.0 µg/m3 over a 15-minute sampling period
Action level:                0.1 µg/m3


ICPMS Level of Quantitation (LOQ) of elemental Beryllium: 0.0075 µg

To meet the action level requirement of 0.1 µg/m3, a minimum of 75 L must be sampled to analyze by ICPMS.


Recommended Minimum Air Volume: 480 L
Recommended Sampling Rate: 2 LPM

At the recommended OSHA minimum air volume of 480 L: Our ICPMS LOQ = 0.016 µg/m3

ICP Level of Quantitation (LOQ) of Beryllium as Beryllium Oxide : 0.042µg

To meet the action level requirement of 0.1 µg /m3, a minimum of 150 L must be sampled to analyze Beryllium Oxide by ICP.

For Beryllium Oxide testing we follow a modified version of NIOSH 7102, the NIOSH 7102 recommended minimum air volume will not allow you to meet the new OSHA PEL.

NIOSH 7102

Recommended Minimum Air Volume: You must sample 150 L to reach 0.1 µg/m3
Recommended Maximum Air Volume: 1000 L
Recommended Sampling Rate: 1 to 4 L/min

If testing for Beryllium from suspected Beryllium Oxide sources, this must be sampled on a separate filter. Analysis of Beryllium with other metals cannot be performed on the same filter when the Beryllium source is suspected to be Beryllium Oxide.


The AIHA Proficiency Analytical Testing (PAT) and Laboratory Accreditation Programs realized the issue of beryllium testing and the specific difficulty in testing for Beryllium Oxide (BeO). A study was commissioned in 2009 by the Beryllium Health and Safety Committee (BHSC) Sampling and Analysis Subcommittee (SAS) to look at BeO sample digestion issues. In 2010 AIHA PAT program introduced a pilot study to determine the ability of its participants to adequately digest samples containing BeO. The study revealed that some laboratories were not adequately digesting the more complex, less soluble compounds of beryllium. SGS Galson has participated and been found proficient in the BeO PAT program since its inception. If you suspect you have difficult-to-digest beryllium material that exist in typical work sites where beryllium is found, you will want to make sure you are using a laboratory proficient in the AIHA PAT program for BeO.

We’re prepared to help you measure beryllium exposure and obtain the highest quality data possible to ensure adequate worker protection today and in the future.

For information or to order, call our award-winning Client Service Representatives at
(888) 432-5227, chat with us through the online IH Live Chat, e-mail or visit

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