The most important thing in a metal detector is not just the metal, but how it works, says Dave Macdonald, owner of the Kitchen Smoke Detector store in Kitchener.
The metal detector does a lot more than just protect against smoke and germs.
It can also detect the presence of lead, mercury and other toxic substances, he says.
“We sell metal detectors to anybody, regardless of age, race, gender, colour or anything else,” he says, adding that there are no age restrictions for customers, although it does say the detector must be used for 10 years.
He also recommends that people with medical conditions such as cancer or HIV test themselves with the metal detectors, to ensure the detectors are working.
But Macdonald says his store has never had a case of someone being exposed to a toxic substance while using the detector.
“I would say it’s probably safe for the most part, but we definitely do have incidents,” he said.
“It’s the only way I know to go.”
But some people are wary of the metal detection system, especially after the recent case of a teenager who was found to have ingested a small amount of mercury from the detector and had symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
In Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Health is investigating the use of the detector at the time.
It has not been decided whether it will ban the metal or charge people to have their metal detectors replaced.
“If you have a metal device that you feel could potentially expose you to toxic substances in a way that is not a safe use of that device, we would recommend that you contact the health department to get a second opinion on whether that device is appropriate for you,” says Lisa Toth, a spokeswoman for the ministry.
While Toth says the ministry has no authority to make decisions on whether metal detectors should be banned, she does say they should be considered a last resort, especially for those who have health issues.
The ministry says it has had no reports of mercury exposure in Ontario and has no record of anyone being exposed in Kitchen.