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Beryllium Exposure Studies and Testing

ORAU provides beryllium exposure testing to workers from across the United States

ORAU operates one of only three laboratories in the United States certified to perform the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). This test helps to determine if a person has developed a sensitization to beryllium. The lab is certified under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) guidelines.

Protecting workers from occupational exposure is critical to their safety and well-being. Sometimes these hazards are difficult to see, as is the case with beryllium—a light but strong metal that finds applications in many industries, such as aerospace, defense, and nuclear weapons production.

In its solid state, beryllium is not harmful, but if workers are exposed to beryllium dust or fumes during machining and manufacturing operations, they may become sensitized to it. This sensitization could evolve into chronic beryllium disease (CBD), also known as berylliosis.

ORAU, through its contract to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), has been helping the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to identify former beryllium workers who may have developed this sensitization.

Analyzing Samples at Our Beryllium Testing Laboratory

ORAU uses a brief health questionnaire and a blood test known as the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) to identify workers who have been sensitized to beryllium and may need to be evaluated further for CBD.

We can draw the blood for the BeLPT at our state-certified Beryllium Lab in Oak Ridge, Tenn., or call on a network of medical clinics nationwide to collect and ship the samples to our lab. A final report is prepared within approximately 14 days after the lab receives blood samples from a subject.

Beryllium Registry for Active Workers

ORAU has the infrastructure in place to maintain registries of exposure and sensitization data for your employees who are currently working with beryllium. These data could prove useful for future epidemiologic analyses.