In the interest of a safe Halloween, Orange County area hospitals and medical centers are offering free X-ray inspections of treats to detect the presence of any metallic foreign objects.
X-rays can detect nails, pins, needles, razor blades, "any metal object," according to Larry Walters, assistant director of radiology at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach. "What's important to note is we cannot detect poison," he said.
There were two incidents of tampering with Halloween candy in Orange County in 1982. Parents of a child in Brea turned over to police a piece of jellied candy containing a sewing needle and in Buena Park police were given a candy bar that had been stapled.
Bob Merryman, director of environmental health for the county health services, said that he knew of no tampering incidents in the last two years.
Dave Schapiro, coordinator of the UCI Regional Poison Center, said there have not been any poisoning incidents in recent years, but he advised parents to "carefully inspect all packages, allow no homemade (items)." He advised the discarding of any candy "that has holes poked in it" or that is not individually wrapped.
The X-rays can be taken directly through the candy sack, Walters said. "The radiation passes through the candy. There is no residual radiation," he said.
It takes a few seconds for the candy to be X-rayed and a few minutes to develop the film, Walters said. "It should be a short, five- to 10-minute procedure, depending on how many goblins are waiting."
The following hospitals and medical centers are offering candy X-ray inspections: FOUNTAIN VALLEY
Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, 17100 Euclid St.
Inspections on Halloween from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Parents should inspect treats first. Candy brought to main entrance, directions given from there. PLACENTIA
Placentia-Linda Community Hospital, 1301 Rose Drive. Candy and fruit X-rayed from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Halloween. Children will receive free balloons. NEWPORT BEACH
Hoag Memorial Hospital, 301 Newport Blvd. Candy screening begins on Halloween and continues for several days afterward. Children will be given the X-rays of their candy. YORBA LINDA
St. Jude Hospital-Yorba Linda, 16850 E. Bastanchury Road, will X-ray from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Halloween and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday. Use doors to right of hospital entrance. Free balloons. ANAHEIM
Western Medical Center, 1025 S. Anaheim Ave., will screen on Halloween and on Friday.
Anaheim Memorial Hospital, 1111 W. La Palma Ave., will X-ray from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. Adults accompanying children will be offered a free blood pressure check. Halloween safety tips are available from the hospital by calling (714) 999-6064. LA PALMA
La Palma Intercommunity Hospital, 7901 Walker St., will X-ray treats Nov.1. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ORANGE
UCI Medical Center, 101 The City Drive, will offer free X-rays Halloween until 9 p.m. and Friday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Register at radiology desk in basement of medical center tower.
The U.S. Medical Enterprises clinics will provide free X-raying on Halloween and all day Friday at the following clinics: ORANGE--AmeriCARE 1 Immediate Care Medical Center, 867 S. Tustin Ave. ANAHEIM HILLS--AmeriCARE 1 Immediate Care Medical Center, 5635 E. Orangethorpe Ave. BUENA PARK--Park Medical Center, 6550 Knott Ave. LA HABRA--AmeriCARE 1 Immediate Care Medical Center, 1231 S. Harbor Blvd. LA PALMA--AmeriCARE 1 Immediate Care Medical Center, 5959 La Palma Ave. EL TORO--Vista Medical Group, 23632 Rockfield Blvd.