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May 21, 2008 > Washington Hospital to Host Free Lead Screening for Toys

Washington Hospital to Host Free Lead Screening for Toys

State-of-the-Art Screening Can Detect Harmful Elements in Seconds

Over the past year, millions of children's toys have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission due to lead paint concerns. These massive recalls have drawn renewed attention to the health risks posed by lead-tainted toys and other items that may contain lead. If the recent recalls have left you wondering if your children's toys are safe or if you're curious about the contents of some of your other household objects, attend the free lead screening event at Washington Hospital on Saturday, May 31.

Childhood lead poisoning is a major but preventable environmental health problem. Lead is a toxin that is linked to lower IQs and behavioral problems, particularly in young children. At the upcoming lead screening, community members are encouraged to bring toys, pottery, dishes, bowls, glass and any other items that you would like to have tested for lead. Each family can bring up to three individual items for testing during the event and if time permits, additional items may be tested.

"Everyone needs to be more aware of the risks of lead exposure and this lead screening event is a great way for families to learn if their children's toys are safe," says Ruth Traylor, Director of Community Outreach at Washington Hospital. "We hope to educate the community about potentially hazardous products and help protect our children and families in the process."

Livermore based HMC Analytical Instrumentation will perform the lead screenings with a device called a XRF (x-ray fluroscent spectrometer) analyzer. This hand held device can analyze and detect lead and more than 20 other elements such as zinc, copper, and chlorine in a matter of seconds. The analyzer, which looks like a tazer gun is mostly used in industries such as mining exploration. But in the last few years, the XRF's ability to detect lead and other heavy metals in objects without destroying them has made it very attractive for consumer related testing.

Jack Hanson, owner of HMC Analytical Instrumentation has been donating his analyzers for community lead screenings for several years. In December 2007, his company provided instruments for a San Francisco Police Department toy drive that saw more than 7,000 toys screened over a two week period.

"Performing lead screenings for the public is my way of giving back to the community," he says.

To learn more about recent recalls and consumer product safety news, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website, To learn more childhood lead exposure, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website,

Don't Miss the Free Lead Screening!
The free lead screening will take place inside the Conrad E. Anderson Auditoriums located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont on Saturday, May 31. Screenings will be conducted from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Call (800) 963-7070 to register.

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