Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Childhood Lead Poisoning Investigations: Evaluating a Portable Instrument for Testing Soil Lead. (Practical Stuff!)

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Childhood Lead Poisoning Investigations: Evaluating a Portable Instrument for Testing Soil Lead. (Practical Stuff!)

Article excerpt

* The authors evaluated a portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument for use as a soil lead-testing tool.

* XRF devices contain a sealed radioactive source.

* When the shutter is opened, the source emits gamma rays that cause atoms to fluoresce and give off a characteristic energy spectrum.

* Thus, a particular element such as lead can be detected.

* XRFs are used commonly for testing lead in paint.

* U.S. EPA also has evaluated the potential of XRFs to measure metals in soil at hazardous waste sites and has developed Method 6200 for field measurements.

* Method 6200 protocol recommends drying of soil samples and extensive soil preparation before testing with an XRF.

* Local environmental programs have, however, limited time and budgets.

* Therefore, this study evaluated both the accuracy of the Niton soil-testing feature and the minimum sample preparation needed to provide accurate results.

* Four soil-testing methods were used.

* A first reading was taken directly on the soil surface.

* A composite soil sample was collected from the top one-half inch of soil and placed in a bag, through which a second reading was taken. …

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