FDA Expanding Test for Lead Poisoning

From: Robina Suwol
Date: 21 Sep 2006
Time: 16:20:42
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FDA Expanding Test for Lead Poisoning Children with lead poisoning will have greater access to a new screening system that measures lead levels in blood in as little as three minutes, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday. The test, made by ESA Biosciences of Chelmsford, Mass., now will be available at more than 115,000 certified locations nationwide, including healthcare clinics, mobile health units and schools. Each year, more than 300,000 children ages 5 and younger have blood levels that exceed the threshold used to indicate lead poisoning. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates one out of four homes with children under age 6 has lead contamination. Lead poisoning can lead to learning and behavioral problems. Officials say quick diagnosis would let children have access to treatment, including medicine that will bind up the lead and allow the body to expel it. Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said expansion of the test's availability is an important step for patients. "This may be particularly true for young children and inner city residents who may face obstacles accessing healthcare," he said.

Last changed: September 21, 2006