Beryllium is a naturally occurring metal which is found in beryl and bertrandite rock. It is extremely lightweight and hard, is a good electrical and thermal conductor and is non-magnetic. Beryllium, whose atomic number 4, is a brittle, steel-gray metal found as a component of coal, oil, certain rock minerals, volcanic dust, and soil. Elemental beryllium is the second lightest of all metals and is used in a wide variety of applications. In its elemental form beryllium exhibits the unique properties of being light weight and extremely stiff, giving the metal several applications in the aerospace, nuclear, and manufacturing industries. In addition, beryllium is amazingly versatile as a metal alloy where it is used in dental appliances, golf clubs, non-sparking tools, wheel chairs, and electronic gadgets. Unfortunately, beryllium also causes lung and skin disease in 2% to 10% of exposed workers. Occupational exposure most often occurs in mining, extraction, and in the processing of alloy metals containing beryllium. The adverse health effects of beryllium exposure are caused by the body’s immune system reacting with the metal, resulting in an allergic-type response. Dust control is the primary preventative measure. Beryllium serves many purposes such as:
Metal working (pure beryllium, copper and aluminum alloys, jet brake pads, aerospace components)
Ceramic manufacturing (semi-conductor chips, ignition modules, crucibles, jet engine blades, rocket covers)
Electronics (transistors, heat sinks, x-ray windows)
Atomic energy industry (heat shields, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons)
Laboratory work (research and development, metallurgy, chemistry)
Dental work (alloys in crowns, bridges, dental plates)
Prior to 1951, it was used in fluorescent lamp work
Beryllium disease primarily affects the lungs. The disease occurs when people inhale beryllium dust or fumes. Skin disease with p

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