Beryllium test lab re-certified

The Beryllium test lab that’s part of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has been re-accredited by the College of American Pathologists. The lab is one of four in the United States that is certified to perform the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test, which helps determine if a person exposed to beryllium has become sensitive to the toxic metal.

Sensitization often leads to development of chronic beryllium disease, an incurable respiratory disease that’s also known as berylliosis.

People inquiring about the tests and how to use lab services can reach the lab managers by email at occ.health@orau.org.

The laboratory is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities for the Department of Energy.

In a statement, Donna Cragle, the lab director and a vice president at ORAU, called the accreditation of the lab “a major accomplishment” and praised the lab team managed by Linda Nichols. In 2011-2012, the lab processed nearly 10,000 tests, ORAU said.

This is the second time the lab has been recertified since its opening in 2009.

Most of the Oak Ridge workers who developed chronic beryllium disease worked at Y-12, where the metal was used in the production of nuclear weapons.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.