Lead Testing & Awareness Campaign

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that at least 13,400 Indiana children had lead poisoning. The lifelines for these children are public health education programs on lead poisoning and its effects on child development.  In response to this need Dr. Geyer’s environmental and analytical chemistry students conducted a lead awareness campaign in conjunction with the Fort Wayne Allen-County Department of Health in a Fort Wayne neighborhood adjacent to the university in September 2012 and 2014.  Assistance with public health education on lead poisoning prevention and treatment during the campaign was provided by the School of Health Sciences’ community health nursing students instructed by Terri Roberts and Carolyn Yoder.

During the first campaign, the chemistry students surveyed 373 households requesting the opportunity to analyze their exterior paint for lead.  Evidence for the presence of lead was found in 38% of the tested households. In the second campaign, 80% of the tested households contained lead. All paint sample acquisitions and analyses were completed by the environmental chemistry students.

The environmental chemistry students traveled to Bay City, MI to present the results of their lead analyses at the Midland Michigan Local American Chemical Society Meeting. Their poster presentation, “Living our Mission through Chemistry: A Lead Paint Survey of a Fort Wayne Neighborhood,” won third place in the poster competition.  Chemistry majors, Talitha Frecker and Jordan Heim, presented the poster at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research at Butler University.