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Beryllium disease & ventilation

Recently the Chicago Tribune did a big article on Beryllium Disease.
An illness afflicting mostly people who work with the raw material
incorporating it into other metals and material. There is no cure and
will often kill those diagnosed with it fairly soon after diagnosis.

My husband is now quite worried about my firing enamels in the house
on sheets of copper.

I got the idea that the beryllium was mostly dangerous as a powder or
in fumes. Would enameling release this kind of powder of fume, I
don’t think so. I would think if you sanded or filed the metal quite
a bit without protection it would be an issue. I would also think
that ventilating the studio seperately from the house would take care
of the problem. Is there a way to determine how much air my system
needs to move to ventilate a 12’ x 12’ studio with one kiln.

I know there are a few specifics for copper you can enamel on, I
think beryllium is in most copper isn’t it. If anyone knows off the
top of their head it would be great. As it is when I order copper I
just aske “is this good for enameling?”

Any info on the above would be wonderful.

It is 97 degrees today and I don’t dare turn on the kiln.

Beryllium is NOT in most copper! Tell your husband to find something
else to worry about :slight_smile:

Beryllium Copper alloy is extremely hard and unsuitable for work done
by metalsmiths it is also very expensive when compared to regular
copper. You will not accidentally get this material unless you get
your material from junk yards or scrap dealers.

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (510) 533-5108
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (510) 533-5439

Member of the Better Business Bureau

2% Beryllium is what is used in Beryllium copper. It used for things
like springs where steel can’t be used. If there is any Beryllium in
the copper you are using ,then the seller is required buy law to
disclose that to you by means of endless pages delivered with your
order.If you are still unsure you should call your supplier.