Lead Sample Collection Kit

Tech ID: 19-032
Inventors: Dr. Heidi Beidinger, Dr. Marya Lieberman, Dr. Graham Peaslee
Date Added: June 17, 2020


A testing kit for the presence of lead in paint, soil, and dust for residential use. 

Technology Summary
Lead exposure can lead to severe physiological and neurological toxic effects on the human body and is particularly dangerous for children. While the use of lead paint has been banned, it is estimated that approximately 83% of homes built before 1978 (24 million U.S. residences) contain lead-based paint.  Currently, lead hazards are evaluated after a lead-poisoned child has been identified. This is problematic because only a small fraction of children are tested for lead and those with elevated blood lead levels may have irreversible developmental damage. Homeowners can hire a certified lead assessor to test the lead levels in their home, however this is costly and time consuming. There are very few home testing tools for lead hazards available to consumers. The existing tools focus on paint only, provide a binary presence or absence of lead, and do not meet the new EPA requirements of specificity and sensitivity. It is important to test for lead in soil and dust in addition to paint due to the possibility of residues from the use of leaded gasoline and the deterioration of lead-based paint into soil and dust. 

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have recently developed a lead sample collection kit to improve the reach and prevention of lead poisoning from lead-based paint, dust, and soil in American homes. The kit includes 2 paint samples, 3 soil samples, and 3 dust samples to be taken by the homeowner that can then be analyzed using X-Ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) using portable equipment or in a lab in less than 10 minutes. The Lead Sample Collection Kit developed by the University of Notre Dame is a better alternative than using the existing home testing kits or hiring a certified lead assessor because it can quantify lead levels in paint, soil, and dust faster and more cost-effectively. Therefore, it is more scalable to the millions of homes across the nation that should be tested for toxic lead levels. 

Market Advantages

•    Less expensive (<$20 for the kit and XRF analysis per sample compared to approx. $40 per sample for other kits or hiring a certified lead assessor). 
•    Faster results of homeowner-conducted sampling and XRF analysis (<10 minutes for analysis compared to hours for ICP)
•    Expands the identification of lead from just paint samples to also soil and dust.
•    Results yield quantification of lead levels rather than binary presence or absence of lead.
•    Kit can be used on all paint colors.

Technology Readiness Status

TRL 5 – Validation in Relevant Environment


Validation of a Screening Kit to Identify Environmental Lead Hazards. 
doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108892


Richard Cox