Phoenix-based ABC affiliate KNXV-TV reported Wednesday that the high-end Paulson brand of poker chips, which are used both in casinos and in home games, contain levels of lead that register off the EPA’s charts.

The news channel sent 200 Paulson chips to an independent lab to be tested for lead levels.The findings:

• All surface swabs showed lead levels above the EPA’s limit of .06 percent.
• More than half hit 10 percent, the maximum that the swab will register.
• In the total lead content tests (40 chips), the lowest reading was four times the EPA’s allowable limit.
• One chip contained 45 percent lead.

Will Humble, an Arizona health services official and former head of Arizona’s lead poisoning prevention program did not mince words:

"If you were to take chips like these and spread them out, 1,000 of them on the ground, essentially it would be a federal Superfund site," he said. "That's how much lead is in these things. I've been doing this for many, many years and seldom do we come across products that contain this much lead that are in people's homes."

Gaming Partners International Corp., the company which manufactures the chips, released a statement saying that as long as the chips were used properly, they were not dangerous.Of course, the company neglects to mention that should a child chew on a chip, which could very well happen in the households who purchase Paulson’s for personal use, they could become very sick.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, on the other hand, did bring this up in a letter written department head Diane Eckles to the U.S. EPA."We're bringing this to your attention because of the potential exposure to the most vulnerable population, the children of families that currently have this product in their homes," the statement read."There is also a potential for the dealers to expose their families, specifically children, to this lead hazard."

Gaming Partners’ statement did say, though, that the chips have been redesigned to eliminate the dangerous lead content and bring it down below EPA limits.

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