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Testing for Beryllium or Other Hazardous Substances Exposures Available Free to Former Hanford Site Production Workers

April 20, 2009

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Medical tests related to occupational exposures to beryllium or other hazardous substances and complete physical examinations are available free to former U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hanford Site production workers at clinics across the country through the National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP), a component of the DOE Former Worker Medical Screening Program.

The National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP) has provided valuable diagnostic health information to numerous former DOE energy workers. Since 2006 alone, the NSSP has screened 513 former Hanford production workers using the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test, or BeLPT. In this group, 20 individuals (3.9 percent) have had an abnormal BeLPT.

The customized screenings are designed to identify occupational diseases such as chronic respiratory illnesses, hearing loss, kidney or liver disease and some forms of cancer related to these occupational exposures, including beryllium.

“The recent finding of the DOE advisory panel that many more of the current Hanford workers need to be tested for beryllium sensitivity underscores the fact that many former Hanford workers who have not yet taken advantage of the free medical screening offered to them through the NSSP should do so,” said ORAU’s John McInerney, M.D. “In the process, they’ll receive the benefit of not only a beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT), but also screening for other hazards to which they may have been exposed when they worked at the Hanford site.”

As of December 2008, more than 53,000 former Hanford production workers had been contacted by DOE’s Former Worker Medical Screening Programs to ensure that they are aware of the services available to them. Currently an effort is being made to spread the word to more former Hanford workers in light of the recent announcements that more beryllium testing is needed. Rescreening examinations are now available for former workers every three to five years and are particularly recommended for those who had beryllium, asbestos, or radiation exposures.

The NSSP is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), along with its partners National Jewish Health, Comprehensive Health Services and Occupational Health Link for the DOE Office of Health, Safety and Security.

The NSSP uses a nationwide network of clinics to provide medical evaluations to former DOE employees, regardless of where they are living today. For the great majority of former workers, the NSSP is able to provide a medical evaluation within 50 miles of their home.

Interested former Hanford production workers can find out more about the NSSP and related links at the ORAU NSSP Web site. The toll-free number to call for more information is 1-866-812-6703.

Former Hanford construction workers seeking medical screening should contact the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program, another subset of the DOE Former Worker Medical Screening Program, at 1-800-866-9663 or visit the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program Web site.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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