Presentation Abstract

Title:Dental Technician Exposure to Beryllium using Dental Casting Alloys

Author: Amanda Bilenki

Presented at: AIHCE 2010, Denver, Colorado


Industrial hygiene applications are widespread and varied in the medical industry, including the field of dentistry.  Dentists and dental technicians work with numerous metal alloys when casting dental restorative/prosthetic fixtures.  These alloys consist of heavy metals including nickel, chromium, beryllium, molybdenum, and aluminum.  An exposure assessment was designed and conducted to determine the personal and area airborne exposures to beryllium concentrations while grinding and finishing dental castings by removal and smoothing of the alloy sprues.


In order to assess personal exposures, six dental castings with sprues were continuously ground and shaped over a 240 minute period.  The alloys used in this study contained between 1.6% and 1.99% beryllium.  Air samples were collected and analyzed following OSHA Method ID 125-G Mass Spectrophotometry (MS), which used atomic emission spectroscopy with the metal heated by Inductively Coupled Plasma.  Confirmation of the presence of beryllium was conducted on the alloy material.  Grinding debris/dust was also collected for analysis


No beryllium was detected in any of the air samples.  All personal breathing zone and area air samples revealed airborne beryllium dust concentrations below the detection limit for the analytical method of 0.00011 mg/m3 (240 minute sample) and 0.00084 mg/m3 (30 minute sample).  Bulk analysis of the debris from the grinding showed that the dust contained 350 micrograms of beryllium.  The alloy material was found to contain25 mg/kg of beryllium in the alloy.


Sprue removal and cast finishing by power grinding did not expose the dental technician or a potential bystander to detectable concentrations of airborne beryllium dust.  These results are well below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for beryllium of 0.002 mg/m³ and the OSHA 30 minute maximum peak limit for beryllium of 0.025 mg/m³.   

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