Development of a Reliable, Low-Cost, and User-Friendly Spot Test Kit for Leaded Paint and Dust Based on Recent Advances in Bionanotechnology

EPA Contract Number: EPD06040
Title: Development of a Reliable, Low-Cost, and User-Friendly Spot Test Kit for Leaded Paint and Dust Based on Recent Advances in Bionanotechnology
Investigators: Liu, Juewen
Small Business: DzymeTech, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2006 through August 31, 2006 (Extended to September 30, 2006)
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Lead Paint Detection and Removal , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Hazardous Waste/Remediation


Lead in household paint and dust is a serious health hazard, as low-level lead exposure can result in a number of adverse health effects, especially in children. Onsite and real-time detection and quantification of lead in paint/dust are very important to homeowners and certified lead-based paint removal professionals. Toward this end, both field-portable equipment (such as X-ray fluorescence instruments and anodic stripping voltammetry) and colorimetric spot test kits (based on sulfide or rhodizonate ion) have been used. Although the portable instruments generally are reliable, their relatively high costs and use of sophisticated parts (such as the radioactive X-ray sources) make them difficult for homeowners and some professionals to use on a routine basis. On the other hand, although spot tests provide low-cost and user-friendly alternatives, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) studies show that their reliability is inadequate.

DzymeTech, Inc., proposes 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, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Dr. Lu has taken advantage of recent advances in bionanotechnology and has developed catalytic DNA-gold nanoparticles colorimetric sensors for lead. The sensor 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, DzymeTech will investigate methods for efficient dust sample collection, 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. Several kits will be designed to reveal the sharpest color change as it occurs at dust lead hazard, clearance levels for floors, interior window sills, and window troughs. Phase I will determine the feasibility of transforming the concept developed at UIUC into a commercial product at DzymeTech. It also will lay a solid foundation for a large-scale test, validation, and further development of the spot test kit in Phase II. Combined efforts in both phases will result in commercialization of a reliable kit to be used by both homeowners and lead removal professionals.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 4 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, spot test kit, lead, health hazards, lead-based paint, lead detection, lead removal, lead dust, children’s health, public health, EPA,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Engineering, nanosensors, lead based paint detection, nanotechnology, biotechnology, engineering

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Development of a Reliable, Low-Cost and User-Friendly Spot Test Kit for Leaded Paint and Dust Based on Recent Advances in Bionanotechnology  | Final Report