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Question: Seeking Info re Commercial Low-cost Lead Screening Products

by read_holman | April 04, 2019 18:59 | #18958

Hi all -

I'm doing a lit review for a project and am hoping you can help.

I'm seeking published literature that evaluates commercially available low-cost lead screen products.

Note: These are not mail-in services, but rather at-the-source screeners.

I have found one peer reviewed article, but it's 20 years old. And I have found MANY articles in consumer-facing outlets like Popular Science and Real Simple magazine, etc, but those are of consumers doing their own "tests". No real scientific rigor. There is also this EPA website, but it's not even close to covering the market.

Do you know of any published papers on the topic? (Including any put out by a gov agency) If so, please do share them here.

I'd also accept write-ups that aren't in peer-reviewed outlets but clearly document methods that hold scientific water.



Hi @read_holman - there's some information (not nearly as much as you're asking for) up at https://publiclab.org/common-water-contaminants#Lead, which maybe we should merge with https://publiclab.org/lead, what do you think? At least to consolidate what we do have on the site.

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Hi @warren -- oh yeah you pointed me to this page a few weeks ago. I think the merging / linking of content is fine. I've kept wanting to go back to the PL lead-related web presence, but have been distracted by non-website related questions of late. (like the one I posted here!)

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Hi @read_holman, I may have already shared this with you, but these are results we got with strips from Silver Lake Research (which is the OEM for WaterSafe and I believe for every other brand of 15ppb colorimetric lead test strip on the market) https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1tWOEIZ0yhNs9g3sK5bJtTwx7ldODiI5RVTMbwwwxxHw/edit?usp=sharing Unfortunately using a combination of atomic absorption spectroscopy, accurately lead-spiked tap water, and computer vision, our conclusion was that the strip to strip measurement variability was too high for us to use with https://www.citizenspring.org/. If one could use many strips on a single water sample and average the results, it might be improved sufficiently for some purposes, but it also becomes a more intensive and costly process (notably you would avoid a lab delay). This work isn't yet peer reviewed, but it does use rigorous scientific methods and was shown at the annual AWWA conference in 2017. There was a EPA funded SBIR grant in 2016 that was soliciting lead tests that were faster and more reliable, so that could be a thread to look at for updated solutions to the problem https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/sbir_fact_sheet_2016.pdf Let us know if you find anything... I'd be super interested! Cheers, Sean

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Hi @smmontgom - Good to see your name again! And thanks for this. You did share this with me at point, though a number of months ago now. It fell off my radar (in part because I went away from this specific topic for awhile), so I'm glad that you've shared the link and overall findings here.

I haven't found anything yet; which is interesting. Will keep you posted on what we end up finding and what we end up doing with the information (or more likely: lack of information).

@smmontgom -- I'd like to reference your digital "poster" and it's findings. When was your study performed? (month and year; though will take just year if that's all you have)

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An update: I haven't received any new studies yet aside from those I already knew of and linked to above: Three EPA funded evaluations (done in ~2010). Though, one of those products doesn't appear to exist anymore.

Meanwhile, there are quite a few DIY lead screening tools available online. I get the sense that some of these products may actually be the same product just branded and/or packaged differently.

I'm organizing things into the following google doc:


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Found this which is relevant:

Lead-based paint testing technologies: summary of an EPA/HUD field study (1999) http://abacus.bates.edu/~raustin/FluxFlow/Lead%20test%20kits.doc

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The United States pharm. had a lot of tests for lead and other elements( like arsenic and barium). You can't argue with its scientific validity- it's recognized by th e FDA. Here is a list of monographs some new, some from the 2012s, so you may have to do a little digging. They aren't all called lead. They may be called heavy metals or extractables. It's a start.

Monographs- 231-232-233-251-211-381-661-2232

Let me know if you need more info


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