Alert urges caution when working with beryllium
Washington – NIOSH in February issued an alert (.pdf file) for beryllium.
Beryllium is a highly toxic metal, and exposure to particles, fumes, mists or solutions from materials containing beryllium can lead to sensitization or chronic beryllium disease, a potentially life-threatening respiratory disease. NIOSH’s recommendations include:
- Control beryllium dusts, fumes and mists at the source.
- Keep work surfaces clean.
- Do not use cleaning methods that may cause dust to become re-suspended in air.
- Substitute less hazardous materials for beryllium when possible.
- Keep airborne exposures low since a safe exposure limit has not been determined.
- Establish and maintain a skin and respiratory protection program.