Cases of chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a legacy of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) role in weapons production, have been increasing across the DOE complex. This trend has sparked increased concern about this serious occupational illness. In a national effort to identify current and former workers who have CBD or are sensitized to beryllium and to better understand the illness, DOE has set up a number of medical surveillance and research programs for both current and former workers. The way that workers enroll in the programs and the information that they are given prior to participating in the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation testing (Be-LPT) vary depending on where and when the worker was employed in a DOE facility.
Where research is involved, the DOE Human Subjects Research Program in the Office of Science has the responsibility to ensure that the rights and welfare of human research subjects are protected. ∗ However, the Office of Science is providing this guide to all current and former beryllium workers, whether involved in research or not, to make information about CBD and beryllium sensitization testing available so that all workers can make an informed choice about participation.