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Lead Testing Instrument Will Help Identify Potential Health Risks

Armen Hareyan's picture

Marion County Health Department has added to its technology arsenal a state-of-the-art X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) for use in testing lead in a variety of products. The $35,000 dollar testing instrument is one of only a few being used in Indiana.

"A laser provides pinpoint metal content analysis within 60 seconds," said Karla Johnson, administrator of the health department's Lead Safe and Healthy Homes program. "For example, we can take the toy, the jewelry, the paint chip and know quickly whether or not it poses a lead threat. We are fortunate to have this cutting edge technology available to provide testing for Marion County residents," said Johnson.

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The instrument, which can test more than 20 metals, can be hand held, sit on a tabletop and can be easily transported. The XRF arrives at a time when the health department has experienced increased demands for testing in the wake of national toy recalls that began in August. In a three-month period from August to October, the health department provided more than 4,000 blood lead tests, most created by concerns generated by multiple national toy recalls.

The XRF will aid in testing paint chips, costume jewelry, toys and other products for lead and other metals. The instrument provides another tool for the health department to help identify and respond to potential health risks created by exposure to lead and other metals.

Marion County residents, concerned about an item they feel may pose a lead or other metal health risk, can make an appointment with the health department to have the item tested at no charge.