Skip to main content

Beryllium Exposure Assessments

Does your facility need help adhering to the new OSHA regulation for beryllium?

Did you know that the new OSHA beryllium permissible exposure limit changed from 2.0 micrograms to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter over eight hours? OSHA’s final rule for beryllium requires employers to implement protective measures for workers who are exposed to beryllium.

With the new standard, you may have questions about whether your facility is above the new limit for beryllium exposure or how you are going to communicate with and educate your workers.  

ORAU offers more than 25 years of beryllium expertise with its staff of experts who have managed the ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory for DOE since 1993.
Experience matters

ORAU health professionals at the ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory—one of only three facilities of its kind in the United States—have provided quality testing procedures and ensured the lab is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act, or CLIA guidelines, and accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

We can provide consultation and work with you—no matter how large or small your organization is—to get you set up and on the right track to adhere to the new OSHA beryllium regulation.

With a tailored approach from assessing your current situation to handling abnormal lab results, we can help you communicate with your workers along the way to make sure you take the necessary steps in order to meet the requirements of the new regulations.

Medical surveillance

If your facility exceeds the new OSHA beryllium permissible exposure limit, medical surveillance to look for beryllium health effects must be offered to your workers, which include a review of medical history in addition to a variety of medical screenings, such as the Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (BeLPT). The BeLPT helps determine if a worker has been sensitized to the metal, and if he or she needs to be evaluated further for chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

  • Foundry Worker

    What is beryllium?

    Beryllium is a gray chemical element that is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. According to OSHA, its physical properties of great strength-to-weight, high melting point, excellent thermal stability and conductivity, reflectivity and transparency to X-rays make it an essential material in some industries.

  • Workers in auto manufacturing plant

    Why is beryllium a hazard to workers?

    According to OSHA, workers who inhale or are in contact with beryllium can develop an immune response that results in an individual becoming sensitized to beryllium. Individuals with beryllium sensitization are at risk for developing a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease (CBD) if they inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other adverse health effects, such as acute beryllium disease and lung cancer.

Where has beryllium been found?

End products containing beryllium and beryllium compounds have been used in many industries including:

  • Aerospace (aircraft braking systems, engines, satellites, space telescope)
  • Automotive (anti-lock brake systems, ignitions)
  • Ceramic manufacturing (rocket covers, semiconductor chips)
  • Defense (components for nuclear weapons, missile parts, guidance systems, optical systems)
  • Energy (microwave devices, relays)
  • Dental labs (alloys in crowns, bridges, and dental plates)
  • Electronics (X-rays, computer parts, telecommunication parts, automotive parts)
  • Medicine (laser devices, electro-medical devices, X-ray windows)
  • Nuclear energy (heat shields, reactors)
  • Sporting goods (golf clubs, bicycles)

Select Publications

Our Experts

John McInerney

John McInerney, M.D.

Expertise: Emergency medicine, occupational medicine, preventive cccupational medicine

  • Co-principal investigator for the National Supplemental Screening Program
  • Served as director of beryllium medical surveillance programs for 20+ years
  • Involved in the testing of 15,000+ individuals for beryllium-related medical conditions
  • Served as physician and site occupational medical director for the DOE plant in Rocky Flats and implemented the Rocky Flats Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program
  • Major author of Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test Interpretation Guideline
Ann Gehl

Ann Gehl

Expertise: Oversees Beryllium Lab and ensures lab maintains CLIA, CAP and ISO accreditations

  • Extensive lab experience at ORAU, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Thompson Cancer Survival Center and Indiana University Hospital
  • Activities: American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Tennessee State Licensed Medical Laboratory Supervisor

Contact us

To learn more about beryllium exposure testing or if you need help adhering to the new OSHA regulation for beryllium, contact Barbara Neill at 865.241.6152 or