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Author: Subject: How toxic are Beryllium compounds really ?
Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 02:16
How toxic are Beryllium compounds really ?


Prompted by vano's post 'Beryllium compounds' I want to know if anyone here has worked with Beryllium compounds professionally,
and how toxic they really are.

I have long had a suspicion that governments over-hype the toxicity
because it is an extremely useful AND rare element.

The only personal experience that I have is a sphere made of beryllium that I own,
warning labels on some rf power transistors that I have,
and the capstans of the mainframe tape drives that I used to service were beryllium oxide coated.

Beryllium used to be called glucinum as it and many of its compounds apparently taste sweet.

So, does anyone here REALLY know how toxic beryllium is,
and is willing to tell ?




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 03:27


I understand that part of the problem is that individual susceptibility is very variable.
Some people are very sensitive and, of course, the safety warnings have to defend them from harm.
Apparently there's only one way to find out if you are in the "sensitive" group.

Lead compounds, methanol and ethylene glycol also taste sweet and are distinctly toxic.
(The glycol get sits name from the same root as glucinium).
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 03:59


I will not begin to explain biological effects. I think it is the fault of governments that everyone thinks beryllium is very toxic. Their purpose is to instill fear. Why weren't people afraid of chemistry before? look at this funny thing is that this is truth, I have seen a student (not chemistry student) who was spilled 2% acetic acid on his hand.He was really very scared.He did not even know that higher concentration acetic acid - vinegar were used and eaten in salads. What he feared was the word "acid". The old man who gave me this amount of oxide told me it was not poisonous. That the compound is not poisonous is a mistake, just the time when he was a chemist the compound was not considered poisonous. That is why he gave me toxic chemicals, for him they're not toxic.

All of us, whatever substances we use, are almost all toxic. In my opinion the main thing is to do the job smartly, and then there is nothing poisonous.




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 04:27


A wise man pointed out long ago that everything is a poison and nothing is a poison.
What makes the poison is the dose.


The trouble is, that, with Be++ you may not know what the dose is.

The reason that it's listed as toxic isn't Vano's irrational assertion " I think it is the fault of governments that everyone thinks beryllium is very toxic. Their purpose is to instill fear".


The simple fact is that people who worked with it got sick and died. Some of them get named on the wiki pages.
What was unusual was that some of the colleagues of those who were killed remained healthy because of a number of factors which it would have been unethical to examine in detail.

When you see the phrase "I have seen a student" it is important to realise that students, by definition, don't know stuff.

I have also seen someone- with a PhD in chemistry- spill pure formic acid on their hand and ignore it because, after all, it's a weak acid and formate is a normal (if rather minor) metabolic product.

And, of course, after a while he noticed the burn.
It's a weak acid, but quite a good protein solvent.
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 04:37


I have worked on the clean up of a site contaminated with beryllium. We used the ATSDR tox profile to guide our clean up levels and assessment of risk. There is some good science based info in there. I haven't experienced it first hand, but the literature indicates some individuals may be more susceptible to the respiratory effects (pneumonia like symptoms) of exposure.
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 05:01


unionised If you had entered the laboratory half a century ago and worked there, you would have understood what I was saying. There is no talk of death here, that beryllium has killed people, almost anything can do such a thing. Maybe you can buy all the reagents, but I can not buy some of the necessary reagents because of the stupid rules imposed by the government. For example, glycerin and nitric acid are not put side by side in the store, and they do not sell without documents, but you can buy urotropin and concentrated peroxide in the same store and many other things to do worse things. This is a stupid rule, that is what I mean.

Chemistry has a border, when it was not dangerous and became dangerous, you can not deny it. Also pure formic acid and 2% acetic acid is different things. No one will give a non-chemistry student such chemicals to die as you said they do not know.




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 07:05


there is information on beryllium toxicity here: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp4.pdf

and here: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/berylliosis/#:~:text=...

I've seen the LD50 for BeCl2 stated anywhere from 86 to 200 mg/kg


[Edited on 9/9/2021 by MidLifeChemist]
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 07:56


@Sulaiman

You have a Be sphere ? I have Tritium. Now we only need a couple more things to set up a light show !




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 08:14


Quote: Originally posted by vano  
unionised If you had entered the laboratory half a century ago and worked there, you would have understood what I was saying.

I understood it.
It's just that you are wrong.
I can buy beryllium with no difficulty at all.

But the idea that it is labelled as toxic because governments want to scare people is absurd.
It is labelled as toxic because it is toxic.
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 08:25


I am not saying that it is only the fault of the governments, however they make a great contribution. Ironically, none of the old reagents were written that they're poisonous, including beryllium oxide, mercury compounds, cadmium compounds, and more, so i can show you reagents which are poisonous but nothing is written on them about toxicity. I think we are ideologically different, it's not exactly my idea, but in general I do not call your opinion absurd, Sodium chloride produced in your country also has a warning sign, as if not everyone in the house has it. I understand, i understand...

[Edited on 9-9-2021 by vano]

[Edited on 9-9-2021 by vano]




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 08:38


Quote: Originally posted by vano  
Sodium chloride produced in your country also has a warning sign, as if not everyone in the house has it.
[Edited on 9-9-2021 by vano]


The problem is, when everything is labeled toxic, then people stop taking it as seriously. I think California has gone off the deep end on this with their carcinogen labels. Is BeO one of the really toxic ones? I always thought that it was, but I don't really know.
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 08:57


Metallophile you are right, for me it's funny that everything is labeled toxic. Not for everyone though. People who do not know chemistry think something dangerous, as my friends thought when they saw succinic acid label, for them it and sodium cyanide were same.



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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 09:21


Quote: Originally posted by vano  
Also pure formic acid and 2% acetic acid is different things. No one will give a non-chemistry student such chemicals to die as you said they do not know.
I think the point that unionised was making about formic acid was cautionary: this person with a PhD assumed formic acid was of trivial safety concern, and that warnings were overblown. As a result, they sustained a nasty burn, which could have been easily prevented had they stopped what they were doing and washed their hands.

I agree that many safety warnings on things today, especially those on consumer products, are ridiculously exaggerated, and do more harm than good. However, we need to be careful to avoid a knee-jerk reaction to this. If you disregard ALL the safety warnings because many of them aren’t warranted, and take pride in ignoring basic safety principles out of a misguided idea of what things were like in “the good old days,” you’re gonna eventually get yourself hurt, and you’ll wish you were more careful… if you’re still alive.




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 09:33


I agree with you Texium. I will tell you my opinion in one sentence, if you do it right it is not dangerous. On the other hand this issue can be argued endlessly.



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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 11:20


@Sulaiman: What are we really fighting here? Who is wrong about what? And why shouldn't we believe them? A casual glance suggests there are well documented cases that supports very strict use. I do know that most machinists are sh*t scared of it, it seems to be most toxic from inhalation.



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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 11:46


Quote: Originally posted by vano  
Ironically, none of the old reagents were written that they're poisonous, including beryllium oxide, mercury compounds, cadmium compounds,

Yes they did.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/372646344266

HgCl2.JPG - 22kB
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 14:15


The reason beryllium is feared is not that it is especially toxic. The reason is that there is no curative treatment for berylliosis. From NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470364/
Quote:
Once a diagnosis of CBD is made, the patient needs life-long follow up with serial arterial blood gases, chest x-ray, and pulmonary function tests.[11]

Heavy metal poisoning can be resolved by chelation. There are no effective chelating agents for beryllium that have demonstrated effectiveness at treating beryllium poisoning in humans. However, there are some promising studies in mice with catechol-3,5-disulfonic acid ("Tiron"):
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10942906/




[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 14:37


My copy of the Merck Index was published in 1968, "half a century ago". Its section on the safety of beryllium is based on a review from 10 years earlier, which summarized information still older.

Quote:

Beryllium
...
Human Toxicity: Death may occur from short exposure to incredibly low concs of the element and its salts. ... Contact dermatitis, chemical conjunctivistis, corneal burns, nonhealing ulceration at site of injury, subcutaneous nodules may occur following exposure. Acute: pneumonitis may result from single exposure to beryllium and occasionally is fatal. Chronic: pulmonary granulomatous disease may apear in 3 months to 15 years, often after short exposure to low concn. Uncertainty as to complete recovery. Death rate about 25%


So I think it's fair to say that its bad reputation isn't a contemporary invention.




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 22:28


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Quote: Originally posted by vano  
Ironically, none of the old reagents were written that they're poisonous, including beryllium oxide, mercury compounds, cadmium compounds,

Yes they did.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/372646344266


unionised This is mercury antiseptic tablets, It lies in an ordinary medicine box. medicine and chemistry is different things. I'm talking about reagents. Look my beryllium oxide photo above and see label . First two is random chemicals just to see labels, third one is SO3 and I2O5 mixture, forth is thorium nitrate you can see data. They're old reagents which I meant.
received_330082432207128.jpeg - 276kB received_2618885798421084.jpeg - 183kB



Attachment: received_211303497700928.webp (322kB)
This file has been downloaded 33 times

received_549426699731865.jpeg - 281kB

[Edited on 10-9-2021 by vano]




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[*] posted on 9-9-2021 at 22:34


[

[Edited on 10-9-2021 by vano]




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[*] posted on 10-9-2021 at 03:05


Quote: Originally posted by Fulmen  
@Sulaiman: What are we really fighting here?
well I'm not fighting at all :)

IF there is any conspiracy to keep Be for military purposes it would have started in the 1940's.
(government officials are basically professional liars)
(eg Fauchi.. masks don't help, no gain-of-function research funded etc.)

I'm sure that Be and some of it's compounds are toxic,
I just wondered if maybe not as bad as published data suggests.
In any case, I shall not be licking my Be sphere ;)




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[*] posted on 10-9-2021 at 04:15


I'm still puzzled by Vano's apparent view that
"It is better not to warn people".

What harm does a warning do?

He talks of a person who was worried by essentially watered down vinegar because they were ignorant.
Well, yes, that's a problem.

But you do not solve ignorance by withholding information.

The biggest driver of absurd warnings is not government but "ambulance chasing" lawyers.


[Edited on 10-9-21 by unionised]
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[*] posted on 10-9-2021 at 06:03


Sulaiman: This wouldn't be you? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQbN2nmAnyk

IIRC the first implosion bombs (Gadget & Fat Man) both used a beryllium "trigger" for the initial neutrons. Other than that I don't know of any real sinister uses.




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[*] posted on 10-9-2021 at 08:42


beryllium is used in non-sparking tools as beryllium copper.
inhaling small amounts of beryllium dust can be fatal.
beryllium simply doesn't have a lot of industrial uses outside of beryllium copper.
The other uses are beryl gemstones and xray windows.

While it is 'rare' it is more common than tin.

the toxicity of beryllium is very individual. About 25% of the population is sensitive to it and if exposed it is often fatal.

prior to 1900 chemical safety was practically non-existent
of course before 1914 (ludlow massacre) it was legal for your employer to kill you so there is that.
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[*] posted on 29-9-2021 at 23:59


Beryllium is bad shit. Fifty years ago, we talked about it plenty. I had a buddy that usta build electronic prototypes utilizing power transistors. Apparently Beryllium Oxide has excellent thermal conductivity. Mix it with a little grease. and slather it between your Heat-sink and your Power Transistor.

Yeah, such use is a bad idea, but some folks do it. Something I have always kept in mind when salvaging electronic components.

It takes only a tiny amount of Beryllium to kill or cripple you. Its effects are purported to be progressive and irreversible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berylliosis



[Edited on 30-9-2021 by zed]
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