Lead Sample Collection Kit Research

Notre Dame Lead Innovation Team (ND LIT) is developing a Lead Screening Kit to help families identify potential lead hazards in their home environment. Our goal is to develop a reliable, low-cost Lead Sample Collection Kit so that families can discover environmental lead hazards before their children are exposed.

Version 1 Lead Screening Kit

In winter of 2017, students in the Chemistry in Service to the Community worked with Mr. Walsh, the science department chair at Adams HS, to deliver kits to students at Adams HS.  They used the Version 1 kit to test 325 homes. This experience showed that citizen science is a viable way to test large numbers of homes.  But we were not happy with the "bag of bags" format of the kit. 

Lead Test Kit CartoonLead sample collection kit version 1













Version 2 Lead Screening Kit

The next version of the kit was redesigned by Ms. Maria Krug and a group of engineering students at Notre Dame.  They added a plastic tray and a box to organize the sample bags.  In the summer of 2018, we tested the version 2 kit in 47 homes.  We compared the lead levels that the kit found with the lead levels measured using conventional procedures (a portable XRF for paint and soil testing, ICP analysis for dust wipes).  This experiment showed that the results from the kits are similar to the results from conventional testing. However, the kits are going to be much easier to scale up to test large numbers of homes.


Picture of Lead Sample Collection Kit Prototype!

Version 3 Lead Screening Kit

We brought in a Notre Dame graduate design student, Mr. Shreejan Shrestha, for the Version 3 kit. 

Mr. Shreejan Shrestha, kit designer


Sketch Of The Kit With Shreejan

The kit is now a long tray with eight sample compartments  easily accessible for the X-ray fluorimeter. All the directions are printed right on the box.  The tray is custom made (we use a vacuum former and a mold that Shreejan made for us). It looks very snazzy! 


Kit Pic 1

Sample collection kit V3

Our third phase of testing is getting under way now.  We are working with public schools, WIC, clinics, and neighborhood associations to find the best ways to ensure the kits are used by families with small children.