Beryllium is a silver-gray metal that has been produced for various industrial uses since the late 1950s. Inhalation of beryllium particles can cause a serious illness in certain people. This illness is chronic beryllium disease, or CBDan irreversible and sometimes fatal scarring of the lungs. Do not touch Beryllium-containing components with bare hands.
Articles that may contain Beryllium include (but are not limited to):
- X-ray transparent containers, in particular as a part of specimen holders.
- X-ray windows on detectors (Bicron, Amptek), or beamline components such as flight tubes.
- High heatload compatible components.
- Ceramics used in electronics devices and other equipment.
- Springs, switches and relays.
- High-strength non-sparking tools.
These items present little risk of inhalation as long as they are not broken and no beryllium oxide is allowed to form. If your work involves the use of beryllium-containing items, find and follow the relevant standard operating procedures. Treat any broken or oxidized beryllium-containing article as hazardous waste.