Published: Jan 1961
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Beryllium oxide ceramics are presently available for use by the electronics industry. The toxic history of beryllium and its compounds has caused great concern in the minds of persons desiring to use them; however the danger can be eliminated when adequate consideration is given to the major problem in the handling of beryllium-containing compounds—that of limiting the concentration of any beryllium compound in the air, measured as beryllium, below the limits prescribed by the Atomic Energy Commission. These limits are: In-Plant: The 8-hr average air beryllium concentration must be kept below 2 μg per cu m. At no time shall the beryllium air concentration be greater than 25 μg per cu m. Out-Plant: The 30-day average of out-plant breathing zone samples shall not exceed 0.01 μg per cu m.
These limits of air contamination can and are being maintained without great cost or difficulty in beryllia processing facilities.
The toxicity of beryllia ceramics is associated with fine particles of beryllia which can be inhaled. Clean, fired beryllia ceramics present no toxic problem.
To handle beryllia ceramics properly the following program is recommended: (1) Develop a medical program, the scope of which is dependent on the nature of the material being processed; (2) set up a clean separate area for handling beryllia that includes the proper protection equipment for processing beryllia ceramics; (3) monitor the air and surface contaminants in the area; and (4) keep a record of the operation.
Ferreira, Laurence E.
Director of Research, Coors Porcelain Co., Golden, Colo.