Lab is one of only three in U.S. certified to test for sensitization to beryllium

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) operates one of the three laboratories in the United States that performs the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). The BeLPT is the primary diagnostic test to determine if workers exposed to beryllium, an element that is used as a metal and alloy in nuclear power reactors and in weapons assemblies, have become sensitized to it. The sensitization can be an indicator of chronic beryllium disease (CBD). CBD, characterized by lung granulomas, is a treatable but incurable condition.

As one of the original researchers into the development of beryllium sensitization and disease, ORISE has been performing the BeLPT since 1991. The ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory is certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA). The test is performed using the Department of Energy specification (DOE-SPEC-1142-2001). 

The BeLPT is considered to be a complex medical test. Lymphocytes are separated from whole blood, challenged with a beryllium solution, and allowed to incubate for five and seven days. Following the incubation, the cell growth is stopped, and the proliferation rate is calculated.  If the cells in the beryllium solution have multiplied significantly faster than the controls, the test is considered to be “abnormal” indicating beryllium sensitization.

Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (BeLPT) Process Diagram

BeLPT Process Diagram

For more information:

ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory
Phone: 865.576.3115


Toll-Free Numbers for Workers
Beryllium Vendor Screening Program: 1.866.219.3442
Beryllium Medical Surveillance Program: 1.866.219.3442