I was reading in a local trade magazine here last night, an article, that really rather shocked me, for a number of reasons.
I'd never heard of this sort of thing before and also because it's been known about in the US for some time.
This is a Health and Safety nightmare as far as we are concerned, especially when you consider that beryllium was classed as a Category 1 carcinogen back in 2001 in the US and had been known about some time before that.
It effects almost everyone in the Electrical/Electronics industries, especially those that work on Commercial and Industrial installations.
Beryllium, is used in a wide range of of gear, including auto spark-plugs, relays and other switchgear.
Beryllium alloys are also used in electrical, instrumentation and computer applications because it is non-magnetic and has high conductivity, it is also non-sparking and is harder than steel, beryllium is also used in tools specified for use in flammable hazardous atmospheres.
Just one contact with with it, is enough to put you at high risk of berylliosis.
Berylliosis, is a treatable, but incurable lung disease which causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs, resulting in dry coughing, breathlessness, weight loss and chest pain.
OSH NZ obviously knew (or should have known) about this when this material was classed as dangerous, 4 years ago.
Apparently there isn't even a test laboratory here that can detect beryllium posioning, with the cause of the above symptoms often being diagnosed as other non-occupational causes, like smoking and so forth.
So therefore, we have no records of it's effects on workers over here either.
This is slack to say the least, if we muck-up over here we get fined huge amounts, for "Health and Safety" breaches.
Just another thing in the list of hazards that can harm us, I guess.
What are your thoughts on Beryllium?.
[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 05-28-2005).]