Deanna Csomo McCool | February 14, 2020
An inexpensive lead sample collection kit distributed to homes in St. Joseph County is comparable in accuracy and sensitivity to more costly in-home analysis, according to research published this month in the Journal of Environmental Research.
The Notre Dame Lead Innovation Team (ND LIT), central to the research, began its focus in 2016 to uncover hidden lead threats in homes before children are poisoned from their environments. The team is ready to take the next step toward distributing the screening kits for eventual nationwide use.
“Folks don’t have an inexpensive or quick method to test for lead,” said Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “You have to call the health department, and it takes weeks to complete the entire process. Or if you have some money, it’s $200 to $300 to have a private risk assessor come out to your house.”
With the kit developed at Notre Dame — which costs about $10 to manufacture — people can have results within a week, and are given do-it-yourself strategies to mitigate lead risks in their homes, Beidinger-Burnett said. The kit contains tools to collect samples from paint, soil and dust, and was distributed to 45 households during the summer of 2018 to screen homes for lead exposure risks.
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