SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame has partnered with a nearby high school in northern Indiana to research and map neighborhoods with lead-tainted homes.
The university’s Lead Innovation Team has distributed more than 1,000 lead kits to science students at Adams High School in South Bend as part of the project, the South Bend Tribune reported. The students will use the kits to collect samples of dust, paint and soil from their homes.
The research team received a $3,000 grant from the university’s College of Science to pay for the kits, which each contain plastic bags for nine samples. The team also received a $75,000 private donation to hire a full-time coordinator next year to lead the project.
The research team hopes to receive more grant funding next year to distribute test kits to students at Clay, Riley and Washington high schools in South Bend. The group also plans to broaden the project to include the city’s middle schools and make kits available for residents to buy at a low cost.
University physics professor Graham Peaslee said the research team’s goal is to collect as many samples as possible in the coming years.
“We want to scale it up to get an idea if this is a citywide problem,” Peaslee said. “The next step will be to go from 1,000 samples to 10,000.”
The university’s team and the high school’s International Baccalaureate students will be testing the samples in December and January using a hand-held analyzer. Those with positive lead results will be sent safety tips, such as suggestions to repaint window sills, dust often and take shoes off before going indoors.
“It will give some of our students the chance to work side-by-side with Notre Dame students to analyze samples and learn about the equipment,” Adams High School science teacher Dan Walsh.
The test results are expected to be available in February.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com