ORNL conducting field test of instruments to detect lead

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., - Instruments and methods to detect lead in house dust will get a tryout at a field verification event conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Nov. 5-9 in Hartford, Conn.

Representatives from six companies will be participating in the test, which will help them assess how well their field-portable gear detects lead in dust. Better and less expensive instruments can help speed the identification and cleanup of lead-laden dust in homes.

Nearly 1 million children in the United States have lead levels in their blood that are high enough to cause irreversible damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Lead poisoning affects virtually every system in the body and often occurs with no distinctive symptoms. Lead can damage a child's central nervous system, kidneys and reproductive system and, at higher levels, can cause coma, convulsions and death.

"In houses that contain lead-based paint, as the paint breaks down with age it releases paint chips and lead dust that can easily be ingested by young children," said Roger Jenkins of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division. "In the past, the focus was on lead chips, but the EPA has been expanding its scope to look at lead dust."

The evaluation is part of the EPA's Environmental Technology Verification program. The goal of the program, for which ORNL is a verification organization, is to accelerate the use of innovative technologies in the field.

"The program exists to provide high-quality and credible performance data through third-party organizations to those involved in the approval, selection, purchase and use of environmental technologies," Jenkins said.

Companies that will be participating in the test are Innov-X Systems of Massachusetts, Key Master Technologies of Washington, Monitoring Technologies International of the United Kingdom, Niton Corp. of Massachusetts, Palintest USA of Kentucky and Radiation Monitoring Devices of Massachusetts. Ni

Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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