Portable Instrument for Chemifluorescent Detection of Lead in Dust

Period of Performance: 08/08/2011 - 07/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Strategic Government Bus/consul/group
Alton, IL 62002
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Lead poisoning has been identified as the number one environmental health problem in the United States affecting children. The CDC estimates that 30 percent of in inner city children have high lead levels and that one million children have lead levels greater than 10 5g/dL of blood. Childhood exposure to low levels of lead have been shown to cause permanent neurological impairments, particularly in children aged 6 months to 5 years, in both cognitive and motor functions. US EPA regulations for lead under the Renovation, Repair, and Paint Rule, which was put into effect April 22, 2010, has expanded the lead industry from one that already spent $100-million per year on blood lead screening alone to a much larger audience that would screen for lead in dust in any home built before 1978 that undergoes paint renovation (35% of all homes nationwide). The ultimate objective of this project is to provide easier and more widespread detection of lead in house dust and increased quality assurance on lead cleaning effectiveness by developing and providing a precise, accurate, sensitive and rugged field instrument which will be used for clearance (compliance with EPA standards). This will be done by refining and transitioning innovative technology developed at St. Louis University funded by HUD for research into the use of chemical fluorescence and microfluidics as a novel approach for detecting lead in house dust. The patent-pending process includes automated lead capture using exchange chromatographic resin, combining the lead with a compound which will fluoresce only in the presence of lead, and quantification of the fluorescence. The process can measure lead masses between 0.5 and 155g and produces ratiometric fluorescence that correlates strongly with the mass of lead exposed to the fluorescent compound (R2 = 0.9884). The specific aims for Phase I of this SBIR application are: (1) Assemble a functional benchtop prototype instrument with automated calibration capability, (2) Develop a robust standard protocol for use of the device to enable application for accreditation, (3) Perform process analysis on lead remediation operational parameters and evaluate customer needs for the purpose of optimizing the usability of a portable embodiment of the technology, and (4) Develop a detailed list of requirements/specifications for a cost effective, high quality portable lead detection instrument which will enable application for NLLAP accreditation for field measurements. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: According to CDC, 10,000 children are clinically poisoned (e35 <g/dL of blood) annually, and their primary exposure route is through ingestion of house dust containing lead from deteriorated lead-based paint. An estimated $8,000 in medical treatment costs are incurred for every poisoned child according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The objective of this project is to provide easier and more widespread detection of lead in house dust and increased quality assurance on lead cleaning effectiveness.