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Safe Kids
Green Lunchrooms
Saliva Test Detects Lead Levels in Children
University Cafeterias Show How
to Cut Waste
Confirm BioSciences recently released the first non-
Dozens of universities are doing away
invasive test, a saliva screening kit, that parents can use to
with lunch trays as a keystone in cut-
discover if their kids have been exposed to excessive levels
ting cafeteria waste. A recent survey of
of toxic lead. Industrial areas, with older housing incor-
25 schools by Aramark, a food-service
porating lead pipes and old paint, are of special concern.
provider for some 600 institutions of
Children often get lead poisoning by eating lead-based
higher education, found that trayless dining
paint chips or breathing in lead paint dust, but a range
reduced food waste by an average of 25 to
of consumer goods have produced lead recalls in recent
30 percent per person. Seventy-five percent of the 92,000
years, as well.
students surveyed at 300 colleges said they were in favor of
The Centers for Disease
the change. Accompanying changes typically include the
Control and Prevention notes
recycling and composting of food waste and using eco-
that lead poisoning is the
friendly serviceware.
leading environmentally in-
A separate study by the University of Illinois, which
duced illness in children, yet
serves 1,300 students a day, noticed a 40 percent reduc-
one of the most preventable.
tion in food waste. Kristen Ruby, an assistant director, ex-
Nearly a million children
plains that because students couldn’t carry as much, they
under the age of five now
didn’t take more than they could eat. “Not having trays
have lead levels that experts
[also] saves 516 gallons of water a day,” says Ruby, who
consider dangerous. Lead
counts the consequent dishwashing detergent saved in an
poisoning can cause learning
academic year at 473 pounds less.
disabilities, slowed growth and developmental delays.
The same principles apply to food operations in busi-
Also, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
nesses, convention centers, sports arenas, entertainment
statistics report that at least a million U.S. adults, in some
venues, government agencies, correctional institutions and
100 different jobs, are exposed to lead daily.
assisted living facilities.

For more information, kit availability and related articles,
Source: The Christian Science Monitor
8 Phoenix
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