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Author: Subject: Beryllium Toxicity
LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 08:30
Beryllium Toxicity


I recently purchased 1 gram of beryllium from Gallium Source. The website states that no dust or powder is present. How safe is it to keep this in an unsealed container? Is aqueous beryllium chemistry any more dangerous than, say, aqueous cadmium chemistry?



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neptunium
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 09:05


i have a couple of samples of Be i keep it in a sealed bag but as long as it is not in powder form and you wash your hands after handling you should be fine .
breathing the powder could lead to berylliosys (spelling?)
and the carbonate taste very sweet it used to be called glucinium(never tried to taste it though i trust my books..) but is very toxic as a metal and as a salt (oxide, chloride....)




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UnintentionalChaos
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 09:10


The stuff doesn't really oxidize readily in air, though I do have some grayish fingerprints on mine. There's probably a skin of oxide, but I don't see it disintegrating into carcinogenic powder anytime in the near future. Mine sits out on a shelf.

I wouldn't bother doing any chemistry with it. Then you risk making finely divided carcinogenic stuff...and the chemistry looks rather boring. Nothing obvious with colors. The oxide is amphoteric and the halides are rather covalent, reacting pretty readily with water. About the only neat thing is the basic acetate, which has a neat cage structure




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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 09:12


Ive heard a few stories from one of the organometallics professors on campus. One of them involved a colleague of his that worked with beryllium, every time he was exposed he would start to bald. Then, after enough time for the beryllium to be excreted from his body his hair would grow back, so good news is its not a cumilative toxin, bad news is you could go bald. It is an acute poison so high levels at once can be deadly. It is similar to magnesium and can replace it in a lot of enzymes.
I found a google book exert here
http://books.google.com/books?id=nKulgztuzL8C&pg=PA423&a...

that talks about beryllium toxicity in more detail if that helps.

[Edited on 21-2-2012 by ThatchemistKid]
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 09:14


You're ok. Beryllium doesn't react with air to produce volatile products. No sealing is neccessary unless it's a fine powder which can be dispersed. Can you take a photo of it? :)



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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 09:54


I have a medium sample out on a shelf as well- Don't try and cut it, break it, or cause any particulates/salts to come from it, and you'll be fine!
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UnintentionalChaos
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 10:01


Quote: Originally posted by Endimion17  
You're ok. Beryllium doesn't react with air to produce volatile products. No sealing is neccessary unless it's a fine powder which can be dispersed. Can you take a photo of it? :)


It's *exciting* stuff!



:P




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neptunium
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 10:07


Quote: Originally posted by UnintentionalChaos  
The stuff doesn't really oxidize readily in air, though I do have some grayish fingerprints on mine. There's probably a skin of oxide, but I don't see it disintegrating into carcinogenic powder anytime in the near future. Mine sits out on a shelf.

I wouldn't bother doing any chemistry with it. Then you risk making finely divided carcinogenic stuff...and the chemistry looks rather boring. Nothing obvious with colors. The oxide is amphoteric and the halides are rather covalent, reacting pretty readily with water. About the only neat thing is the basic acetate, which has a neat cage structure


the only real exciting thing with Be is that it becomes a neutron source when expose to alpha particules of about 4 to 5 Mev.
but to get an efficient source of neutron (other than having a powerful source of alpha) it has to be mixed thoroughly with the alpha in a powder like fashion and melted...hardly a home chemist/physicist weekend project...not impossible but very safety challenging




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entropy51
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 16:56


An interesting Chicago Tribune article on beryllosis in Manhattan Project workers:

http://www.ohiocitizen.org/campaigns/brush/chicago-bomb.htm
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[*] posted on 21-2-2012 at 17:28


Quote: Originally posted by UnintentionalChaos  
It's *exciting* stuff!

:P


That's a cheeky stripe of metal you've got there. :D




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[*] posted on 22-2-2012 at 02:09


Just a word of caution - I bought some Be for my element collection and found I was allergic to it. Where I had touched it I had a red, itchy rash! Cleared up after a day or so. I always wear gloves when handling it now.
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[*] posted on 22-2-2012 at 04:22


This sphere is about 1 centimeter in diameter. It is quite dark gray and not very shiny.

DSCF9807.JPG - 64kBDSCF9808.JPG - 98kBDSCF9809.JPG - 129kBDSCF9810.JPG - 104kB




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neptunium
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[*] posted on 22-2-2012 at 06:18


looks just like mine! with the little crater and everything! guess we had the same suppier



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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 22-2-2012 at 06:29


Beryllium nodules often do have strange shapes.



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