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Sign up for a free home lead inspection

By Angela Herrmann, Center for Urban Health

April 29, 2022

  • An inspector checks items on a clipboard
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If you live in Marion County, you can sign up to screen your home for lead hazards.

The IUPUI Center for Urban Health invites IUPUI faculty and staff to participate in the free lead inspection and risk assessment on May 24, 25 and 26 or Aug. 9, 10 and 11.

The lead inspections are part of a larger U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded research project to validate screening kits, which were developed initially by the University of Notre Dame. The project aims to help Marion County residents learn more about lead in and around their homes, whether they rent or own. IUPUI has partnered with Notre Dame to conduct this research. 

Lead, lead, everywhere!

While the news has focused on lead in water, lead is also commonly found in dust and soil. Lead occurs naturally in the environment in very small amounts. However, elevated lead levels are often found in urban settings due to our legacy of leaded gasoline, lead-based paint and industrial pollution.

Research conducted by IUPUI professor Gabriel Filippelli has shown artificially increased soil lead levels in many parts of Marion County. His research has also shown that lead tends to move around in the environment, especially during hot, dry summers when lead dust can be tracked inside the home on our shoes or our pets’ paws. 

Who is most at risk?

While lead is toxic to everyone, children are especially vulnerable. In many places, only after a child has tested positive with an elevated blood lead level is the environment in and around a household tested for lead contamination. By then, it’s too late because an exposure has occurred.

The Lead Screening Kit Project takes a different approach by screening the home environment and being proactive instead of reactive. If samples contain elevated lead concentrations, residents can take simple actions to reduce exposure in and around the home. 

How can you participate?

During the inspection, residents will work with the IUPUI and Notre Dame research project managers to collect dust, paint, soil and water samples for analysis. Paired with the inspection, researchers will review the results to determine whether the screening kits provide reliable results comparable to the more expensive lead inspection and assessment typically done by public health officials.

If you do not wish to participate in the inspection, you can still collect and submit Lead Screening Kit samples on your own. In that case, Lead Screening Kits are available upon request or by dropping by certain branches of the Indianapolis Public Library. Once samples are submitted, researchers will analyze them and return a full report detailing what they found. In addition, if elevated lead levels are detected, they will provide a list of strategies for reducing lead exposure.

Sign up to schedule your free lead inspection and risk assessment.

If you have any questions, contact Angela Herrmann at aherrman@iupui.edu.