Rapid, Accurate, Single-Step Test Strip for Low Level of Arsenic in Water

EPA Contract Number: 68D00226
Title: Rapid, Accurate, Single-Step Test Strip for Low Level of Arsenic in Water
Investigators: Bognar, John A.
Small Business: ADA Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through March 1, 2001
Project Amount: $69,991
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , SBIR - Monitoring , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The Phase I objective is to focus on demonstrating the feasibility of developing an improved technique for detecting arsenic in drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving to lower arsenic limits in the Nation's drinking water based on new health-risk data, and rural water sources are especially susceptible to arsenic contamination. Arsenic-related cancer risks will begin driving the need for improved, low-cost monitoring and treatment technologies.

The ultimate goal of this Phase I project is to develop and commercialize an easy-to-use, nontoxic test strip that will indicate the presence of arsenic in water at levels down to 0.1 ppb. Incorporating the entire test system onto a single strip of paper is a key innovation in the proposed analytical technique, and it is the primary goal of the Phase I feasibility demonstration. Phase II work will involve optimization and field testing.

In the proposed method, a drop of water is placed on special test paper. A colored ring will appear within minutes if unsafe arsenic levels are present. This self-contained, litmus paper approach represents a significant advance in the state-of-the-art as a cheaper, faster, safer, and more sensitive analytical method. Untrained individuals will be able to use it in the field, and the technique will be universally applicable to arsenic detection in water.

As envisioned, these novel test strips will become invaluable to government agencies and private companies as a quick, reliable, and inexpensive monitoring method for arsenic. The strips also will provide a cheap, simple method for evaluating the safety of drinking water for millions of people who rely on individual wells and other small water systems. Because of the worldwide nature of the arsenic problem, and because the test method will be extremely portable and inexpensive, the method will be useful to U.S. aid workers and military personnel working overseas.

The test strips also will be useful for applications other than initial testing of water sources. For example, if arsenic removal is needed at a well head, ADA Technologies' arsenic detection paper can be safely and inexpensively used to monitor the performance of the treatment system and provide an indication of the system's need for maintenance or replacement of expendables. This will enable more domestic underground water resources to be safely developed. Ultimately, more frequent and widespread monitoring of arsenic in drinking water supplies will reduce the number of cancers and other diseases.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, water treatment, drinking water, monitoring, analytical, engineering, chemistry, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, National Recommended Water Quality, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Arsenic, Chemistry, HAPS, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Environmental Monitoring, Drinking Water, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Ecological Indicators, monitoring, single-step test strip, Arsenic Compounds (inorganic including arsine), risk management, test strip, single-step test strip

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report