By Eric Pylkas
Insight IH Consulting has significant experience in performing metal fume and dust sampling for a variety of industries. Our experience includes foundries, manufacturers, and secondary smelters.
Toxic metals, including “heavy metals,” are individual metals and metal compounds that negatively affect people’s health. They may build up in biological systems and become a significant health hazard.
Common sources of exposure to higher-than-average levels of arsenic include near or in hazardous waste sites and areas with high levels naturally occurring in soil, rocks, and water. Exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause death.
The element beryllium (Be) is a grey metal that is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. It has physical properties of great strength-to-weight, high melting point, excellent thermal stability and conductivity, reflectivity, and transparency to X-rays. The greatest use is in alloys for aerospace (Beralcast, Be-Al), non-magnetic/sparking tools (Cu-Be), circuit boards (Cu-Be), and as electrical insulators (Beryllium Oxide) in high-speed computers, lasers, and microwave ovens.
Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal commonly found in industrial workplaces, particularly where any ore is being processed or smelted. Several deaths from acute exposure have occurred among welders who have unsuspectingly welded on cadmium-containing alloys or with silver solders.
Occupational exposure to lead is one of the most prevalent over exposures. Industries with high potential exposures include construction work, most smelter operations, radiator repair shops, and firing ranges.
20 February 2019
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