Toxic and Radioactive Gems: Safety Tips

Certain minerals are dangerous to work with. In fact, some gems were once used as poisons! Beyond the usual hazards of mineral dust, learn what safety precautions you should take when mining, cutting, polishing, handling, and storing toxic and radioactive minerals.
Reading time: 11 min 11 sec
toxic and radioactive gems - hyalite opal
With trace amounts of uranium compounds, this hyalite opal is slightly radioactive and fluoresces under ultraviolet light. Photo by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Know What You’re Working With

It may seem obvious, but understanding the safety hazards of the gem that you’re handling is essential to finding the right tools to keep yourself safe. Learn the signs of acute and chronic exposure to these hazards. If you experience any symptoms, call for emergency services.

This gemstone toxicity table has information on several toxic and radioactive gems.

An Introduction to Toxicity

Toxicity is simply the ability …

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