HEALTH : Mobile Cholesterol Testers Hit

From Times Wire Services

More people are having their cholesterol levels tested by inexpensive mobile health services, but there is evidence that many of the facilities are unsafe and inaccurate, a government report said today.

The Health and Human Services Department study said some of the screening violates federal guidelines for controlling blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis, which call for technicians to wear new gloves each time blood is drawn and to dispose of bloody materials in specially marked containers.

The report found examples of used needles thrown into regular garbage cans, technicians taking blood--sometimes from a vein--without wearing gloves or wearing used ones, and blood covering mats and counters at sites frequently operated amid the tumult of a grocery store or shopping mall.

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