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Improved NIST SRM aids lead poisoning detection

Lead in goat blood might not be on the top of your shopping list, but for U.S. medical personnel who each year perform more than 2 million human blood measurements, Standard Reference Material (SRM) 955c from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cant be beat.

SRM 955c is an improved version of SRM 955b, a material clinicians already relied on heavily to provide quality assurance for lead blood measurements. Significant changes in material composition, lead levels and expanded uncertainties of the certified lead concentrations make SRM 955c an even more effective tool for use in addressing lead poisoning, a condition particularly harmful to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and young children, causing learning disabilities and behavior problems and, at high levels, seizures, coma and death.

Children can be exposed to lead from lead-based paint in older buildings, or from contaminated soil near highways where vehicles once used leaded gasoline. Lead levels in children have dropped since lead was banned from both paint and fuel, but they remain significant. In 1990 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) established as a national goal reducing lead blood levels to no greater than 25 micrograms per deciliter (the equivalent of 250 parts per billion) by 2000 and no greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter (100 parts per billion) for 2010. The departments Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently estimates that 300,000 American children, aged one to five years, have lead blood levels greater than the 2010 objective. Research reports also provide evidence of adverse effects at an even lower lead blood level than that of the 2010 target among children younger than 72 months.

SRM 955c is packaged as four vials of frozen blood at four progressively elevated lead concentration levels. Unlike previous issues of SRM 955 that were based on hog or cattle blood, SRM 955c is based on blo
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Contact: John Blair
john.blair@nist.gov
301-975-4261
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
3-Aug-2007


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