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Many years ago I built a power supply (an Elektor design) which used a 78HGKC voltage regulator. The data sheet explicitly said not to open the TO3 package as beryllium oxide (BeO) was used for thermal transfer.

Today I learnt that BeO ceramic can be used as an insulator in magnetrons in domestic microwave ovens, e.g. YouTube: DIY How To Disassemble A Magnetron.

Beryllium copper alloy is used in high-quality connectors for test equipment.

Berylliosis is currently incurable.

If I were to make something containing beryllium compounds, even though it does not come under RoHS regulations, should I only say so in the product datasheet, put a notice in the equipment, or just say nothing?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ WEEE might be relevant in the EU, even if RoHS isn't. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Carlton Jun 21 '16 at 22:20
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In the EU beryllium was deliberately not included in the RoHS, however, there is/are suggestions which in words from a report says it best;

Beryllium metal and beryllium oxide is not proposed to be restricted by inclusion in RoHS, however, the presence of beryllium containing parts in EEE above a certain concentration level should be labelled in order to ensure that these parts are dismantled and recycled adequately (cf. Section 6.2.2).

This is from "Study on Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Not Regulated by the RoHS Directive" which was part of a contract from the EU. Available here.

EEE = Electrical and Electronic Equipment.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. It will take me some time to read all of that document. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Morton Jun 22 '16 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewMorton From what I understand those are recommendations only and it's about disposal. If you like the answer accept it ... ;) \$\endgroup\$ – placeholder Jun 22 '16 at 14:24
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Simple answer. As the beryllium compound is inside a TO-3 device, there is no need to declare it - the TO-3 case is welded and hermetically sealed. The only people likely to be affected by such a compound will be gung-ho students grinding the cap off the device or waste-disposal people grinding up electronics waste material. The students need proper supervision; the waste-disposal people need proper PPE.

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Unless you create or insert a poisonous compound from Beryllium, you would not be obligated to state so.

Stating alloys like Beryllium copper can be a selling or marketing point. It is immune to salt water and very hard, and does not become brittle even at 200deg F below zero. It is used for ship propellers, salt-water plumbing, astronaut tools, etc.

Metal poisoning is rare, often because it is in a fine powder form that is inhaled or ingested orally. Sanding or polishing aluminum, beryllium, lead and other 'poisonous' metals often require use of a mask. In solid form most metals are not a health hazard.

One of my brothers had copper poisoning for several years, with the cause unknown, so metal poisoning is rare, but it does happen.

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