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[en] The conventional approach to search for departures from the standard model of physics during Big Bang Nucleosynthesis involves a careful, and subtle measurement of the mass fraction of baryons consisting of helium. Recent measurements of this quantity tentatively support new physics beyond the standard model but, historically, this method has suffered from hidden systematic uncertainties. In this letter, I show that a combined measurement of the primordial deuterium abundance and the primordial helium isotope ratio has the potential to provide a complementary and reliable probe of new physics beyond the standard model. Using the recent determination of the primordial deuterium abundance and assuming that the measured pre-solar meteoritic abundance reflects the primordial value, a bound can be placed on the effective number of neutrino species, (BBN) (with 95% confidence). Although this value of supports the standard model, it is presently unclear if the pre-solar ratio reflects the primordial value. New astrophysical measurements of the helium isotope ratio in near-pristine environments, together with updated calculations and experimental values of several important nuclear reactions (some of which are already being attempted), will lead to much improved limits on possible departures from the standard model. To this end, I describe an analysis strategy to measure the 3He i flux emitted from nearby low metallicity H ii regions. The proposed technique can be attempted with the next generation of large telescopes, and will be easier to realize in metal-poor H ii regions with quiescent kinematics.