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NEW TEST STRIP MIGHT HAVE HELPED AVERT OIL TANKER ACCIDENT

 ELKHART, Ind., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The use of a new, 75-cent test strip that can identify seawater contamination in fuel tanks might have helped avert an oil tanker accident that occurred today in the Shetland Islands.
 Seawater contamination in fuel lines was reportedly at fault when the British tanker "Braer" lost power. Five hours later, the ship ran aground in near-hurricane force winds, leaking some of its 24 million gallons of crude oil near a major bird sanctuary.
 Developed by Environmental Test Systems, Inc., Elkhart, at the request of the U.S. Navy, the new Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station Seawater Test Strips can identify water contamination in fuel tanks as fresh or sea water in less than 7 minutes.
 The test strips, based upon technology originally developed for the food industry, can detect the presence of sodium chloride to 38,000 parts per million in 3.7 to 6.5 minutes.
 The product is now being used as a standard component of fuel tank contamination testing kits aboard 200 ships in the Atlantic Fleet. The test strips have application for all ships carrying jet or diesel fuel.
 The test strip replaces the previous standard water contaminant analysis method, a chemical test that utilized a solution of silver nitrate to determine water quality. This test was found to be unsatisfactory because of the caustic, toxic and chemical characteristics of the solution.
 The test strips require no technical training or special apparatus. The user places a test strip in a water sample and waits as fluid rises up the strip by capillary action and a white column appears in the center of the strip. When a signal stripe indicates the test is completed, the user notes the color-coded region on the strip where the white column ends.
 Four outcomes are possible: seawater (30,000-40,000 ppm salt), brackish water-seawater mixture (15,000-30,000 ppm salt), brackish water (1,000-15,000 ppm salt), and fresh water (0-1,000 ppm salt). Results are read by means of the color system; no numerical markings appear on the strip.
 In addition to providing a reliable indication of the presence or absence of seawater, the test strips also provide a permanent record of the test.
 Environmental Test Systems, Inc., was founded in 1985 to develop consumer and industrial applications for reagent strip technology originally used in the medical diagnostic industry. The company has adapted test strip technology for applications in such diverse fields as concrete testing, pool and spa water testing, drinking water quality testing, automobile and diesel truck coolant testing, and food and industrial in-process testing.
 -0- 1/5/93
 /CONTACT: Barbara Duncanson of Villing & Company, 219-277-0215, for Environmental Test Systems, Inc./


CO: Environmental Test Systems, Inc. ST: Indiana IN: OIL SU:

SB-KE -- DE017 -- 1724 01/05/93 12:28 EST
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Date:Jan 5, 1993
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