PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Doctors at Jefferson University are trying to find out just how much lead is in ceramic cookware sold in Chinatown.

It started with a hunch. Jefferson University emergency room doctor Jerry O’Malley saw imported ceramic cookware being sold in Chinatown, and wondered whether it contained lead.

So he organized a group of med students to buy some. “(We) went out, purchased them all, brought them back and tested them. And we were a little stunned to find that so many of them were really strongly positive.”

He found 25 percent of the kitchenware bought in Chinatown was positive for lead and eleven percent of the pottery bought outside of Chinatown also had lead.

The swab tests don’t indicate how much, so now extensive lead-leaching tests are underway to determine how much lead could be getting into food.

O’Malley says the experiments could lead to identifying a source of lead contamination in adults who aren’t routinely tested.

Reported By Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio.

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