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A. New Advances In Detecting Lead Poisoning

Narrator: This is Science Today. Over a million children in the United States have lead blood levels which exceed the danger zone set by the Centers for Disease Control. Because of these startling statistics, researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are working to develop a more reliable and sensitive screening technique. And in the case of children, researcher Chuck Wilkerson says the less invasive the technique, the better.

Wilkerson: Children are very anxious when they see any kind of medical care people and so if you ask them for a huge amount of blood, that's going to be a very stressful situation for them. So, the technique that we're working on would allow you to just do a pinprick 040 and that's an incredibly small amount.

Narrator: Through advanced laser technology, levels of lead can be detected by that tiny droplet of blood, without all the manual handling of current procedures.

Wilkerson: Since it doesn't require any chemical manipulation of the blood sample, you can imagine having sterile blood samples that you could take and that could be done by parents probably. They could do it in their homes if they wanted to and it could be as if you were testing your home for radon.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.