Another toxic material accident
I was given "brass" to mill on an open mill. Dry cutting because it was such a small job. After the first pass I noticed the cut part was copper colored. Stopped everything and asked why brass looked like copper. Turns out it was gold plated 2% beryllium copper! Too late to do anything about it now, but I figured I'd do some calc's to figure my exposure.
Volume of material cut = .01 cc.
Total weight of Beryllium in that volume = 1.7mg = 1700ug.
Assume 1% becomes dust (17ug). That came from less than .01cc. Density per cubic meter would be less than 17u/((1x10**6).01) = 1.7ng/cu meter.
That's tiny. Doesn't sound right.
Does anyone know how much "dust" is created by dry milling? I have no idea if that 1% number is anywhere near accurate.
Sharp cutter, 1000rpm.
It's only dangerous in California In all seriousness, no problem Berylium copper is an alloy and milling won't seperate the two elements. Grinding, maybe a bit but your talking atoms here. Search , there was a recent thread with some expert advice. Cull the chicken little stuff and you will learn a lot. The real problem comes from grinding it in a ceramic form.
I must agree that just about everything is more dangerous in California, we have too many lawyers
Found this article, an experiment by Lawrence Livermore Labs addressing this exact subject. Heavy stuff, but it's all there .....
Last edited by borne2fly; 06-29-2012 at 02:35 AM.
Gee, this is only about the 200th time this has been covered. And yet, it is still only dangerous in California.
I never even heard of this till now. Did some reading and it seems it is only harmful if you are allergic. So it seems that it is dangerous to some people, but not all. (Beryllium sensitization is an “allergic” condition to beryllium)
All I know is made a ton of parts out of this stuff years ago.
A bunch of info for it here, you decide,......
Chronic Beryllium Disease: About Beryllium - National Jewish Health
Just I glad I don't live in Cali cause everything causes cancer there. On the flip side I assume you are trying to figure out how much beryllium your removing from said cut. If you have the appropriate scale, weight the piece take a cut of known dimensions and then weight the piece again. Difference is the amount removed then do your calculations based on the amount % of beryillium in the alloy. It should get close to the number depending on acuraccy of your scales. I'd used this method with a grain of salt cause the weights are going to be small. The idea came from when I was in research and only when I was half way through I realized I was thinking everyone had a balance that could weigh pico grams and was very accurate not to mention costing 1,000s of $.
Hope it helps in some way.
It's popular on this forum to be dismissive of many safety concerns, often on a premise something like "I did it for years and it didn't kill me, so it must be safe." Note, however, that 1 out of 6 people who engage in Russian roulette come away from the experience just fine, but anecdotal evidence from the survivers doesn't necessarily mean it's safe in general.
Many people apparently took comfort in the following post from a month ago since nine people clicked on the 'like' button:
Originally Posted by JRIowa
Materion Brush (formerly Brush Wellman) is the country's largest producer of beryllium products. On one hand, this means they have great expertise with the material. On the other hand, they have faced legal actions in the past over the safety of beryllium, and thus they have a serious financial interest in keeping track of anything negative. Interestingly, the person who wrote the above joined the forum at the time that thread was active, and only has written that single post since then, which downplays safety concerns.
Originally Posted by CIH
Lawrence Livermore is a very large National Laboratory engaged in the use of beryllium for a number of applications, many of which require machining beryllium-copper, so they have an independent concern about determining the safety of the material, as well as what steps, if any, should be taken to do so safely. Yes, the Lab is in California, and yes they have lawyers who work for them, but if you think those aren't valid reasons for dismissing what they have to say on the subject:
Within the Conclusions of that 45-page scientific study of fabricating parts from beryllium-copper alloys, in a section on 'Milling and Sawing', is "The fact that measurable concentrations of beryllium do exist under optimal conditions and that less than optimal conditions result in increases in the beryllium concentration is enough evidence to warrant the use of local exhaust controls during these operations."
Originally Posted by borne2fly
Information and misinformation is widely available on this subject, so you have to decide for yourself what to do. That's all I plan to write on the subject.
The one thing missing from the Livermore report was the actual quantity of material being removed. For example, the endmill test might state .010" depth of cut but at what depth? Did they use the whole available cutting length of the endmill or just the last few thou? Can't tell from the report.
Also they say each test was run for several hours .... does that mean the mill was actually cutting for that time or was it stopped for significant times while measurements were taken? Can't tell from the report.
So we don't know if the dust they measured was from hours of actual milling or just a single light pass followed by hours of measurements.
I cut .01cc of BeCu, that's about .085" per side, only took a few seconds. I'm sure the airborne dust dispersed rapidly and evenly, it doesn't know it's suppose to hang around the mill Not sure the Be released into the air would even me measurable, but I'm curious just the same.
No quite. If you would have read the other 199 posts on BeCu, you would have seen that I had stated many of the same things as CIH. It's just getting the same thing going again. Some many will reply without first hand knowledge of BE machining. There is more dis-information than information.
Originally Posted by opscimc
BE is a serious safety concern, but when alloyed with copper, the risks are negligable. I would be willing to wager that because he lives in CA, the risks of him getting killed in a car accident, drive by shooting, or earthquake are higher than from Berylliosis.
Back in the mid seventies the shop I was working at ran several berillium copper jobs. Enough that owner cheapskate that he was saved the chips and had them remelted and cast into 1 foot bars. He had those run through the centerless grinder to make them round and I machined them into something else. On the big lathe parts we use no coolant and on the milling which I did we used no coolant. The guy on the machine in front of me threw a chip of this stuff over the gaurd on my machine and it landed between my eyelid and safety glasses. It buzzed and sizzled there till I ripped my glasses off. I thought I had gotten a hornet in the safety glasses. I think I am alive and in reasonable health because the chips are heavy and settle out of the air rather quickly and we were only exposed to the stuff for a couple of weeks. The guy at the foundry that remelted the stuff probably had way more potential for ill health.
I think I would dust the remains with WD 40 and do the cleanup wearing a mask then not worry.
I could tell a funny story about the mill job I did on this stuff. The foreman had bolted the collet fixture to the horizontal mill. When telling me to finish the setup he told me to run the cutter all the way through the bushing.
I did so and got the cutter centered by laying a pin gauge through both sides of the slot and measuring. The inspector gave me a first article OK and I finished the job milling through both sides. As I was carring the work off to the debur and cleaning department, I saw the print called for a slot on one side only of the bushing. The foreman told me that they told the customer that "they would not charge them for the extra slot!" I said really. Foremans reply was "they got on their knees and begged them to take the parts anyway". The material was that expensive back then.
This whole thing just got much worse. I recently found tiny BeCu chips in a part of the shop I had never examined before. When I first went into this place to set up their shop I knew nothing about BeCu, but they assured me nobody cut, sawed, sanded, etc it at all, just assembled the finished parts. The shop was used exclusively for steel and aluminum. Now I'm finding evidence to the contrary. And to think I swept up the whole friggin shop and cleaned the equipment without a mask, just a normal janitorial cleanup!! Been there three months. Now I have a slight cough and swelling of the lungs, but none of the other symptoms .... at least not yet. Hope to God it's simply asthma, I stopped my allergy shots this year for the first time in years and am hoping my allergies simply turned into asthma. Scared to say the least that I might have contracted chronic berylliosis by unknowingly walking into a hot zone created by people sneaking around and working this BeCu stuff while nobody was looking. Not everyone in the place is aware of the danger, so anything is possible. And I'm not there every day, so I have no idea what goes on the days I'm not there. Never again will I work any any shop but my own, this is insane.
I'm a worst-case scenario thinker, so I started digging into berylliosis. Not a pleasant prospect, no cure, nothing good at all. Usually treated with Prednisone to hammer it back whenever symptoms reappear, then taper off the Prednisone to the so-called maintenance level. But each time clinical symptoms appear it means you've lost a little more of your lungs. Bummer. I've taken a BeLPT test and urine test to see what's up, results come back this week. A recently released test for asthma is a FeNO test (Forced exhaled Nitric Oxide, measures exhaled nitric oxide) and is an indication of lung inflammation. Although it is intended for use with asthma patients, there have been reports that chronic berylliosis also generates elevated FeNO levels. This suggests that routine FeNO testing might identify the onset of lung inflammation so you can get back on the drugs before any additional lung damage is done, long before clinical symptoms appear. I'm no doctor, but I do believe in scraping a little info together before I talk to one.
I live in Tucson that is where Brush Wellman is based copper alloyed with Berillium will not give you Berrilliousis. You need to use straight berrillium and it needs to be fine particals like you would get from grinding or polishing. Dont talk yourself into a disease. Settle down it is not like you went out and had unprotected sex with an intravenious drug addict in Haiti.
Are you insane or just a hypocondriac or something?
I don't know anything about BeCu but I have worked with lots of different things and materials in my many different jobs. While it is very important to be aware of any toxicity or danger associated with a material, it is equally important to understand the way in which a material is potentially harmful in relation to the way you are exposed. For instance, I used to work in a genetics lab where we used ethidium bromide, a powerfully mutagenic and therefore potentially dangerous compound. However, I was never exposed to the powder and always wore gloves and a labcoat when handling the liquid solutions, so I was never in any danger.
richmccarty, I might just be But the fact is, there's a GOOD chance that I was unknowingly sweeping up and inhaling exactly the sort of dust that would do this. Not only were these idiots cutting it, they were grinding the stuff in the open as well and the dust no doubt settled all over everything. Wouldn't that scare any sane person?
Originally Posted by borne2fly
All the years I used red lead to scrape and fit with, the red lead I stripped off of pre- WWII machinery, off of old wooden doors and trim over the years. I washed down machines, electric motors, etc. with trichlorthelene. My memory is still 90%, I'm not dead yet.
I do have RA, been on prednisone and methotrexate and other setroid drugs for five years now! Do I go around blaming it on red lead or TTT? No. Is there any connection, maybe but probably not.
Yeah... We here in California have padded cells to run around in. We don't get hurt much but we have big news papers that report hang nails, and drought. They also report good things if they can find enough bad news to nullify any good feelings a reader might have started to enjoy and hence, maybe given them a false sense of security.
There it is folks, all the news that's fit to tint.
Berrillium copper is not the same as BERRILLIUM in its pure form, once alloyed it is not toxic. If you had a piece of pure berrillium and you ground it into a fine powder and snorted it like a line of coke then we would be talking about your funeral. They have medication for folks that have an over active imagination. Lets pretend you did get infected and you get full blown Berrilliosus and you have to quit work lose your home and live on the street and breathe with the help of an oxygen tank. First there is nothing you can do about it now you are already exposed. Second there is no cure only a slow painfull death gasping for every breath. Third everyone dies somehow maybe this is how you go as an example to others not to machine berrillium. That is the worst that can happen but that is not what is going to happen. Nothing is going to happen you were not exposed. Go get some meds they help me take the edge off maybe they will help you.
The above post was kind of mean I apologize. If you are seriously concerned go get a chest x ray. I have breathing problems from silica. My lungs are full of dust from years of polishing, I wore a mask I had a dust collector but 20 years of exposure takes a toll. Nothing any one says on here will convince you so you should go see an expert. Whatever you do dont google berrillium it is real ugly, I am sure it is already to late for that though. You have probably read all the bad shit that can happen to you. I googled silacosis, once the doctors told me what was wrong. Big mistake ignorance is bliss. Once it was confirmed there is nothing you can really do but make the best of it, the good news is I dont worry about my colesteral levels all that much, since a heart attack would be a blessing someday.
You're right about googling beryllium, scary stuff. I'm seeing a pulminary expert and he's running some tests. Waiting for the results. I guess we'll see. I've always been the type to dismiss coughs & colds, no big deal, just keep on truckin'. It's a bit harder to do that with this.
If you are telling us that pure berrillium is very dnagerous
and you are saying that berrillium copper alloy is not dangerous
then thank you for the good information.
I myself thought berrillium copper was also dangerous.
I once checked into the thoronated TIG tungsten thing.
I found out the facts and now I no longer worry about it.