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Beryllium Safety

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About Beryllium: Be is a silver-gray metal that has a low density (1.8477g/cm3), moderately high mp (1287 oC), good stability, and good mechanical properties—particularly specific stiffness, which is 6x greater than steel. In addition, Be transmits x-rays 17x greater than Al, making it a potentially attractive gasket material. The primary forms of Be used are pure metal, metal alloys, and BeO.

 Beryllium Hazards:Chronic beryllium disease- characterized by pulmonary symptoms that include dypsnea, nonproductive cough, and detriments in lung function, resulting from inhalation of airborne Be.

Lung Cancer-Considerable debate about carcinogenicity of Be. It is a demonstrated animal carcinogen and a suspect human carcinogen.

Toxicity-Be is not ordinarily hazardous if ingested.

 Occupational Limits:

OSHA General Industry Standard- 8-hour time weighted average 2 mg/m3

For comparison, all the dust from drilling a typical (100 mm)3 sample chamber produces 2 mg of Be particulates. 



ü      -Minimize airborne concentrations

ü      -Reduce potential for and spread of contamination

1)   Personal Protection:

q       Be familiarized with safety procedure before beginning work

q       Wear a face mask

q       Wash hands thoroughly after contact with Be

2) Control Be particulates:

q       Clear off a localized workspace

q       Cover workspace with paper

q       Confine work to a small, centralized area on paper

q       Use tape to trap Be particulates

·        Put tape on back side of gasket holder to ensure Be dust does not escape out back of holder

·        Use tape to ‘blot’ gasket (2x) before checking under microscope

·        Use tape to create a sticky area for putting drill tips

3) Proper Clean-up procedure:

q       -Wrap-up contaminated paper and dispose in a clearly labeled plastic bag

q       -Give Be waste to Beryllium Safety Contact Person

 *Info was taken from “Beryllium Good Practice Guide.” To look at the guide, talk to Beryllium Safety Contact Person