March 1975

Internal at Large Medicine

Arch Intern Med. 1975;135(3):367-381. doi:10.1001/archinte.1975.00330030017002

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Screening Device for Lead  Scientists from Bell Laboratories are field-testing a new device to screen large groups of children for lead poisoning. The instrument takes less than a minute to analyze the lead content of a finger-prick blood sample.The communications research laboratory in Murray Hill, NJ, was trying to develop instruments to measure the rate of deterioration of elements in telephone cables. One spinoff of this research has been a portable fluorimeter, simple enough to be used by a school nurse or health department worker, and accurate enough to detect levels of lead as low as 5 trillionths of a gram of zinc protoporphyrin, the component of hemoglobin that rises as blood levels of lead increase.Most currently available screening tests for lead poisoning use much larger blood samples, according to the company, and usually must be processed in a laboratory. The new system allows an immediate readout on

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