Beryllium Nitride

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ESPI Metals

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Product Name:    Beryllium Nitride

Formula:             Be3N2

CAS Number:      1304-54-7




Hazardous Component:   Beryllium Nitride

Percent (%):                   0-100

OSHA/PEL:                       0.002 mg(Be)/m3

ACGIH/TLV:                      0.002 mg(Be)/m3




Boiling Point:                    2240 oC (Decomposes)

Melting Point:                   2200 oC ± 100

Specific Gravity:              N/A

Solubility in H2O:              Decomposes in water to form insoluble Be(OH)2.

Appearance and Odor:     White, gray or yellow powder or lump




Flash Point:  N/A

Autoignition Temperature:  N/A

Explosive LimitsLower:  N/A         Upper:  N/A

Extinguishing Media:  Dry Powder.  Do not use water due to the potential of forming ammonia gas which is a strong irritant and can be flammable.

Special Fire Fighting Procedures:  If material becomes airborne or if ammonia is evolved due to contact with water, pressure- demand self-contained breathing apparatus must be worn by firefighters or any other person exposed to smoke or fumes.  If a large amount of material is involved, and ammonia is being released, a Level A Emergency Response suit must be worn.




Effects of Exposure:

To the best of our knowledge the chemical, physical and toxicological properties of beryllium nitride have not been thoroughly investigated and recorded.

Soluble beryllium compounds are strong irritants and capable of causing acute inflammatory reactions of the respiratory pathways and chemical pneumonia.  May cause acute toxicity due to hydrolysis to soluble beryllium compounds.

Acute and Chronic Effects:

Inhalation:  Overexposure to airborne beryllium particulate may  cause a serious lung disease, in certain sensitive individuals, called chronic beryllium disease (chronic berylliosis).  Chronic beryllium disease is a condition in which the tissues of the lungs become inflamed, restricting the exchange of oxygen between the lungs and the bloodstream.  Symptoms may include cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, weakness, and fatigue.  Long term effects may include loss of lung function, fibrosis, or subsequent secondary effects on the heart with eventual permanent impairment. 

Ingestion:  There are no known cases of illness resulting from ingestion of beryllium, however, the potential for local irritation exists.

Skin:  Beryllium nitride is not believed to pose an allergic dermal response.  However, contact with acids or bases may produce soluble beryllium compounds which can cause irritation which can cause irritation which can cause an allergic dermal response and must not be handles with bare hands.

Eyes:  Injury can result from particulate irritation or mechanical injury to the cornea or conjunctiva by dust or particulate.  Exposure may result from direct contact with airborne particulate (dust, or powder) or contact to the eye of contaminated hands or clothing.

Carcinogenicity: Hazard communication regulations of the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration require that caution labels for materials listed as potential carcinogens in either the International Agency for Cancer Research Monograph Series or the National Toxicology Program Annual Report on carcinogens must contain a cancer warning.  Beryllium has also been so listed based principally on animal tests and therefore this material bears a label identifying it as a potential cancer hazard.

Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure:  Pre-existing respiratory conditions.  If prior damage or disease to the neurologic (nervous), circulatory, hematologic (blood), or urinary (kidney) system has occurred, proper screening or examinations should be conducted on individuals who may be exposed to further risk where handling and use of this material may cause excessive exposure.



INHALATION:  Remove to fresh air, keep warm and quiet, give oxygen if breathing is difficult and obtain immediate medical help.

INGESTION:  Swallowing metal powder or dust can be treated by having the affected person drink large quantities of water and attempting to induce vomiting if conscious.  Obtain medical help.

SKIN:  Skin cuts and abrasions can be treated by standard first aid.  Skin contamination with dust or powder can be removed by washing with soap and water.  If irritation persists obtain medical help.

EYES:  Dust or powder should be flushed from the eyes with copious amounts of clean water.  If irritation persists obtain medical help.  Contact lenses should not be worn when working with metal dusts and powders because the contact lens must be removed to provide adequate treatment.




General Reactivity:  Beryllium nitride reacts rapidly with air at 600 oC to give BeO and N2.  Beryllium nitride reacts with water and weak bases to give Be(OH)2 and ammonia.  Beryllium nitride reacts with acids and strong bases to give soluble beryllium compounds and ammonia.

Incompatibility (Materials to Avoid):  Water, acids, bases, halogens, halogenating agents (e.g. hypochlorite solutions).

Hazardous Decomposition Products:  BeO, ammonia.

Hazardous Polymerization:  N/A




Respiratory Protection:  When potential exposures are above the occupational limits shown in Section III, approved respirators must be used as specified by an Industrial Hygienist or other qualified professional.  Exposure to unknown concentrations of fumes or dusts requires the wearing of a pressure-demand airline respirator or pressure-demand self-contained breathing apparatus.  Pressure-demand airline respirators are recommended for jobs with high potential exposures such as changing bags in a baghouse air cleaning device.

Ventilation And Engineering Controls:  Whenever possible the use of local exhaust ventilation or other engineering controls is the preferred method of controlling exposure to airborne dust and fume to meet established occupational exposure limits.  Where utilized, pickups on flexible ventilation lines should be positioned as close to the source of airborne contamination as possible.  Distribution of the airflow in the area of a local exhaust inlet, such as by a man cooling fan, should be avoided.  Ventilation equipment should be checked regularly to ensure it is functioning properly.  Ventilation training is recommended for all users.  Beryllium powder products should be stored and transported in tightly sealed containers and must only be handled under controlled ventilated conditions.

Protective Gloves:  Wear impermeable gloves to prevent contact with powder particularly during handling.

Eye Protection: Wear safety glasses, goggles, or face shield when risk of eye injury is present during handling or further processing.

Other Protective Equipment:  Protective over-garments or work clothing should be worn by persons who may become contaminated with dusts, fume, or powders during activities such as powder handling, furnace rebuilding, air cleaning equipment bag changes, furnace tending, etc.  Contaminated work clothing and over-garments should be managed in such a manner so as to prevent secondary exposure to persons such as laundry operators and to prevent contamination to personal clothing.  Never use compressed air to clean work clothing.

Recommended Monitoring Procedures:

Environmental Surveillance:  Exposure to beryllium should be determined by having air samples taken in the employee breathing zone, work area, and department.  The frequency and type of air sampling should be as specified by an Industrial Hygienist or other qualified professional.  Air sample results should be made available to employees.

Medical Surveillance:  Periodic lung function tests, chest x-rays, and physical examinations should be used to monitor the potential effects of dust or fume exposure.




Steps to Be Taken in Case Material Is Released or Spilled:  In solid form this material poses no health or environmental risk.  If this material is in powder or dust form, establish a restricted entry zone based on the severity of the spill.  Persons entering the restricted zone must wear adequate respiratory protection and protective clothing appropriate for the severity of the spill. Cleanup should be conducted with a vacuum system utilizing a high efficiency particulate air filtration system followed by wet cleaning methods.  Special care must be taken when changing filters on HEPA vacuum cleaners when used to clean up potentially toxic materials.  Caution should be taken to minimize airborne generation of powder or dust and avoid contamination of air and water.   Depending upon the quantity of material released, fine powder or dust spills to the environment may require reporting the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 as well as the State Emergency Response Commission and Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Waste Disposal Method:  Dispose of in accordance with all State, Federal, and Local regulations.




Precautions to Be Taken in Handling and Storage: Keep storage container tightly sealed.  Transfer material in closed systems or within a completely hooded containment with local exhaust ventilation.  Prevent spillage.  Prevent contact with clothing.  Flush container clean before discarding.  Store in a dry area.

Other Precautions: Particulate may enter the body through cuts, abrasions or other wounds on the surface of the skin.  Wear gloves when handling this product.

Work Practices:  Implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain concentration of exposure at low levels.  Use good housekeeping and sanitation practices.  Do not use tobacco or food in work area.  Wash thoroughly before eating and smoking.  Do not blow dust off clothing or skin with compressed air.  Maintain eyewash capable of sustained flushing, safety drench shower and facilities for washing.

Toxic Substances Control Act:  Beryllium Nitride (CAS # 1304-54-7) is listed on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances.

DOT Regulations:

Hazard Class:                   6.1

Identification Number:    UN1566

Packing Group:                 II

Proper Shipping Name:    Beryllium compound, n.o.s., (beryllium nitride)



The above information is believed to be correct, but does not purport to be all inclusive and shall be used only as a guide.  ESPI shall not be held liable for any damage resulting from handling or from contact with the above product.


Issued by:                           S. Dierks

Revised/Verified:                  August 2005