Beryllium Phosphate

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beryllium phosphate is a white to yellowish powder that is slightly soluble in water. It is a strong oxidising agent and can cause burns to skin and eyes.

It is highly toxic if inhaled and may be fatal if swallowed. It is a likely human carcinogen. Exposure occurs mainly in very specialised workplaces (eg mining or processing ores, alloy and chemical manufacturing with beryllium, machining metals that contain beryllium, and nuclear industries). The risk of exposure in the domestic environment is low. It may also be found in emissions from some coal-fired power stations.

The health effects of beryllium phosphate are related to how much and how long the exposure is, and a person’s present state of health. Inhalation of high levels can irritate the respiratory tract and cause beryllium pneumonitis. This can be short-term or chronic, with the latter causing cough, weight loss, weakness and death. Exposure to lower levels can irritate the skin and eyes, and some people may develop sensitisation after repeated or prolonged contact.

Engineering controls should be used to minimise inhalation and skin contact, including ensuring adequate ventilation. Where possible, gloves should be worn. If skin contact does occur, wash promptly with soap and water. In cases of overexposure, a supplied-air respirator with a full facepiece and operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode should be worn. It should be used in combination with an auxiliary self-contained breathing apparatus where necessary. A medical evaluation should be made following exposure.