Don’t snort your crushed microwave oven

NOTE: Some information contained in this post is incorrect.
See the comments for further information.

Here is a little bit of advice.  If your microwave oven is crushed into a pile of dust and shredded metal you should not snort it up your nose.  Bits of it are poisonous.  The magnetron, which generates the microwave energy, has a sintered ceramic insulator that is made from beryllium oxide.  During use it is inert and harmless but if it is crushed and the dust is inhaled you can get berylliosis, an incurable disease of the lungs.

There are other electronics items that contain beryllium oxide as well as other nasties, so to be safe make sure all of your e-waste is recycled.  Here at Ecotech Services we can fix or safely recycle your microwave oven of course. Or we can recycle just the magnetron. And other types of e-waste.  Give us a call.

The pink section just below the waveguide at the top is made of beryllium oxide.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

[Edited 13 August 2015]

About Alan Liefting

Alan Liefting is the founder, a shareholder, and the Managing Director of Ecotech Services. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Ecotech Services Ltd.

2 Responses to Don’t snort your crushed microwave oven

  1. UPDATE: Looks like I may have got it wrong here. It seems that modern magnetrons use aluminium oxide instead of beryllium.

  2. admin says:

    According to the Beryllium Science & Technology Association domestic microwave ovens do not contain beryllium oxide. However, very high power commercial microwave ovens and radar systems do contain beryllium oxide.

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