INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame and IUPUI are partnering to offer free lead testing kits in Marion and Vigo counties.
According to information from the University of Notre Dame, the universities received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to expand the Notre Dame Lead Innovation Team's pilot lead screening program. The current program allows St. Joseph County residents to request free lead screening kits for the home, which are then analyzed on campus by researchers who share the results with residents.
"There is no such thing as a safe level of lead, and our goal with these screening kits is to help people identify their home's lead 'hot spots.' Knowing where the dangers are and what to address first can be critical for providing cost-effective solutions for families," Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, associate professor of the practice in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame, said. "We are so grateful to be able to grow this program beyond St. Joseph County and continue our mission to help eradicate lead poisoning for those in need."
The expanded program will provide free lead screening kits at the request of residents in St. Joseph, Marion and Vigo counties through a partnership with the Marion County Health Department, Indiana University School of Medicine-Terre Haute and Indiana State University. Families living in a home or rental built before 1978 are strongly encouraged to request a kit.
Notre Dame's LIT program website provides short video instructions for participants on how to properly collect dust, paint, soil and water samples throughout their home. Participants will receive their test results within two to three weeks indicating where lead is located in their home and at what level — none, some or a critical level of lead.
"At IUPUI we have been assessing contaminants in soil, like lead, as well as a number of other lead-related research programs, making working with ND LIT a natural fit for our goals," Gabriel Filippelli, chancellor's professor of earth sciences and founding director of the Center for Urban Health at IUPUI, said. "We are excited to take our work a step further through this collaboration and support the mitigation of lead poisoning in new areas of the state."
The program started in St. Joseph County after a seed grant from Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns. The ND LIT program found that instead of homes being "encapsulated by lead," there were often specific locations wreaking the most havoc on families.
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