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Beryllium

Beryllium is a silver-gray coloured metallic element that occurs naturally at low concentrations in rocks and soil.  Beryllium is an important metal used in a number of industries; it is known for being lightweight and for its exceptional strength, stability and heat-absorbing capability.

Human exposure to beryllium occurs primarily in the workplace and inhalation is the most common route of exposure with respiratory diseases like lung cancer typically being the end result. Based on sufficient scientific evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified beryllium in Group 1, carcinogenic to humans.

Beryllium is used at the BWXT Peterborough facility in the fuel bundle manufacturing process. Please visit our FAQ page for more information about this site, and our Q&A page for responses to resident questions about BWXT operations.

The maximum allowable concentrations for beryllium in ambient air in Ontario are 0.01 micrograms per cubic meter. At these levels, we would not expect to see any associated respiratory disease.

Resources:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety fact sheet

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry fact sheet