Development of a Reliable, Low-Cost and User-Friendly Spot Test Kit for Leaded Paint and Dust Based on Recent Advances in Bionanotechnology
Lead in household paint and dust is a serious health hazard as low level lead exposure can result in a number o adverse health effects, especially in children. On-site and real-time detection and quantification of lead in the paint/dust is very important to homeowners and certified lead-based paint removal professionals. Toward this end, both field-portable equipment (such as x-ray fluorescence instrument and anodic stripping voltammetry) and colorimetric spot test kits (based on sulfide or rhodizonate ion) have been used. While the portable instruments are generally reliable, their relatively high costs and use of sophisticated parts (such as the radioactive x-ray sources) makes it difficult for homeowners and some professionals to use them on a routine basis. On the other hand, while spot test provide low-cost and user-friendly alternatives, EPA and HUD studies showed that they are not reliable enough.
We propose to develop a reliable spot test kit that is based on patented and patent-pending technologies developed by Dr. Yi Lu¿s group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), who has taken advantages of recent advances of bionanotechnology and developed catalytic DNA-gold nanoparticles colorimetric sensors for lead. The senor is highly sensitive and selective. A unique feature of the sensor is that the detection range can be tuned to match the idealized response for lead defined by HUD or EPA. Results from the LU group also showed that the sensors have a long shelf life and are cost-effective.
To achieve the objective of developing a reliable, low-cost and user-friendly spot test kit, we will investigate methods for efficient dust sample collection and lead extraction, and applications of the colorimetric lead sensors under different conditions. Both simulated and real lead dust samples will be used for the test kit evaluation. Factors that improve user friendliness, shelf life, and cost-effectiveness of the test kit will be evaluated. Different kits will be made so that the sharpest color change occurs at dust lead hazard or clearance levels for floors, interior window sills, window troughs, respectively. There efforts in Phase I will determine the feasibility of transforming such and innovation at UIUC into commercial product at DzymeTech, and lay a solid foundation for a large-scale test, validation and further development of such a spot test kit in Phase II. Combined efforts in both phases will result in commercialization of such a reliable kit to be used by both homeowners and lead removal professionals.
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