Cooper trial of new lead test

May 19, 2008 1:17:11 PM PDT
Cooper University Hospital is trying a new easier way to test kids for lead poisoning.

Right now, blood tests are the standard.

But, only a small fraction of children are getting tested, because parents fear it will be painful.

As a researcher prepares to swab 20-month-old Donnell Mahan, he tells him, "Open up your mouth, i'm going to brush your teeth."

The new test... developed by a South Jersey company... uses a swab of the mouth and gum line.

After promising results from small-scale trials, Cooper researchers are now seeking 500 children, to see if the swab is as accurate as the blood test.

Dr. April Douglas-Bright, the principal investigator on the trial, says. "This will be the first test that I know of where a large number of people will be tested, so hopefully, we'll find a correlation."

A recent survey of New Jersey homes raised new concerns about lead - even homes that had thought to be cleaned of lead still had high levels.

Nicole Bryant of Pennsauken worries what her sons are being exposed to.

She told Action News, "Even though we live in a newer home, and also, with the news media coverage of the various problems, with lead in some of the toys, it is a concern."

The researchers are looking for children between the ages of 9 months and 6 years, who get care from Cooper pediatricians, and who have not been lead-tested.