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Medical Testing for Beryllium Sensitivity or Exposures to other Hazardous Substances Available Free to Former DOE Pinellas Plant Workers

June 2, 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) Pinellas Plant workers at clinics across the country. These tests are offered through the National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP), a component of the DOE Former Worker Medical Screening Program.

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 NSSP medical screening exam is tailored to the specific exposures in the workplace,” said ORAU’s John McInerney, M.D. “Many former Pinellas workers have not yet taken advantage of the medical screening. We did not expect to identify beryllium sensitivity in the Pinellas population; however, to date we have found nine individuals—4.7 percent—who are sensitized. This is a relatively high percentage. Therefore, I recommend they receive a BeLPT in addition to the screening for the other hazards to which they may have been exposed.”

As of May 15, 2009, almost 3,300 former Pinellas Plant workers had been contacted by the NSSP to ensure that they are aware of the services available to them. As of May 15, 2009, 461 former Pinellas employees have enrolled in the NSSP.

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 Pinellas Plant workers can find out more about the NSSP and related links on the ORAU NSSP Web site. The toll-free number to call for more information is 1-866-812-6703.

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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Pam Bonee
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