Potential Health Effects from Exposure to Beryllium
Beryllium metal, copper beryllium (CuBe) and other beryllium-containing alloys, in solid form and as contained in finished products, presents no special health risks. Most manufacturing operations, conducted properly on well-maintained equipment, are capable of safely processing beryllium metal and beryllium-containing alloys. However, like many industrial materials, beryllium-containing materials may present a health risk if handled improperly. The inhalation of dust, mist or fume containing beryllium can cause a serious lung condition in some individuals. The degree of hazard varies, depending on the form of the product, how it is processed and handled, as well as the amount of beryllium in the product.
The BeST has prepared a Beryllium Safety Bulletin Overview that briefly describes the health hazards associated with exposure to beryllium, the main sources of exposure and the general control measures.
Manufacturers and distributors of beryllium products prepare safety data sheets (SDS) or product specific Product Information Sheets (PIS) that provide additional environmental, health and safety guidance that should be read and understood before working with alloys containing beryllium.