One-Step Rapid Screening for Childhood Lead Poisoning

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43ES012334-01
Agency Tracking Number: ES012334
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (919) 544-8220
Business Contact
Phone: (919) 544-8220
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The CDC states that lead poisoning is the number one environmental health problem affecting children in the US because it affects one of every six at-risk children and it is acknowledged to be a source of cognitive and behavioral impairment. Only 25% of the at-risk US children are tested. Atomic absorption instruments do 80% of blood lead tests in the US, but this technology is not likely to become substantially more accessible because it is limited to sophisticated labs and requires skilled operators. The objective of this proposed multi-phase project is to develop new capillary electrochemical blood lead testing technology that will satisfy the economic, performance, and logistical needs of at-risk populations. We will configure a sensor that will accept unmeasured, untreated sample and an assay that will produce a quantitative blood lead result in 3-8 minutes. The market need for a one-step, CLIA waived blood lead system will increase the amount of lead testing done and ultimately lower the cost per result to < $3. We will also work to improve electrochemical blood lead analysis performance and extend the dynamic response range to meet U.S. and worldwide needs. We will incorporate instrument and sensor features that would allow users to test unmeasured and untreated whole blood and obtain an accurate, precise result. The expected result of the overall project will be technology that will allow substantially more lead testing in the United States and worldwide. Within the guidelines of permissible levels of childhood blood lead levels there are as many as 10 million children at risk, but only 2.5 million are tested. Atomic absorption instruments do 2 million of these tests. Atomic absorption does such a decidedly disproportionate share of this testing because it costs $1 to $3 per reportable result, while point-of-care electrochemical tests cost $4 to $6 per reportable result. Atomic absorption cannot easily increase the number of blood lead tests done because it is logistically inaccessible to 80% of the US target population and nearly 100% of the target international population. The genuine potential in the US blood lead market (7.5 million tests) lies with cost-effective and rapid electrochemical measurement. The proposed high-performance, low-cost technology will be extremely competitive for the $7.5 million available US market and the potentially much larger international market.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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