Beryllium Testing and Surveillance
Beryllium, a metal used in many industries, including aerospace, defense and nuclear weapons production, can have harmful health effects when inhaled as dust or fumes from machining or manufacturing activities.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) manages one of only four laboratories in the country that perform the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (LPT), which detects the worker’s sensitization to beryllium and helps identify workers who have or are at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD). The laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) guidelines and has been awarded the prestigious College of American Pathologists (CAP) certification.
In fiscal year 2009, the ORISE Beryllium Laboratory achieved an error rate of .13 percent (six technical errors in 4,682 tests) despite a 35 percent increase in workload with no additional staffing.
ORISE also maintains a registry of active beryllium workers for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environmental Health. The Beryllium Associated Worker Registry is mandated by 10 CFR 850 and has been collecting data since 2002. ORISE has received data on approximately 20,000 workers from 25 reporting DOE sites. The registry currently contains more than 270,000 records. In fiscal year 2009, for instance, sites submitted 231 sets of data totaling 34,002 records. All submissions were checked for syntax and consistency, and all corrections were shared with submitting sites.
Workers’ LPT test results, exposure data and medical diagnostic data are recorded in the registry and analyzed to identify correspondence between health events and beryllium sensitization. Registry data are then analyzed to generate predictive indicators that validate protection standards or identify the need for greater worker protection.
For more information, contact:
ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory
Toll-Free Numbers for Workers
- Beryllium Vendor Screening Program: 1.866.219.3442
- Beryllium Medical Surveillance Program: 1.866.219.3442
- Beryllium and Chronic Beryllium Disease fact sheet (PDF)
- Diagnostic Workup for Chronic Beryllium Disease fact sheet (PDF)
- Lymphocyte Proliferation Test fact sheet (PDF)
- DOE Website for Former Beryllium Workers Surveillance Program
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