Beryllium has long been a topic of interest to researchers who have examined its harmful effects on health in people who are exposed to the metal on a daily basis for long periods of time.
However, this risk does not apply to people in the general population who do not actually handle beryllium, Pepper said.
Beryllium was discovered in 1798 by the French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, who found it in the oxide form in beryl and a green-colored variety of beryl, emerald.
The metal was isolated in 1828 by two chemists, Friedrich Wölhler from Germany and Antoine Bussy from France, who independently reduced beryllium chloride (Be Cl) with potassium in a platinum crucible, according to the Jefferson Lab.
Interestingly, not all those who get exposed to potentially harmful levels of beryllium will experience an allergic, potentially deadly reaction.
"There is a genetic susceptibility component, which means that not everyone who is exposed is at risk of going on to develop sensitization, then chronic beryllium disease," Pepper said.
As such, beryllium is considered a monoisotopic element.
It also has superior thermal conductivity and resists oxidation in air in normal temperatures.In fact, the metal, its alloys and salts should only be handled in accordance with specific work codes.Beryllium is also classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and it can cause lung cancer in people who get exposed to beryllium on a daily basis because of their occupations that require them to mine or process the metal, said Dr.Named after , meaning "sweet" — to reflect its characteristic taste.
But the chemists who discovered this unique property of beryllium also found that it is in fact highly toxic and should therefore never be tasted, according to Jefferson Lab."Beryllium becomes harmful when it is generated into an airborne particulate …