The flood of recent news stories about lead contamination in homes, schools, and businesses throughout the United States has led many people to question the quality of their own tap water. Since lead is odorless and colorless, the only way to determine if it’s present is to have your water tested (testing kits can be purchased at places like hardware stores, Lowes, and Amazon). But a new invention could make the process of testing water easier than ever—and even detect lead levels below current EPA standards.
A recent story from Science Daily reported on a smartphone system developed by University of Houston researchers that “has the potential to enable individual citizens to examine (lead) content in drinking water on-demand in virtually any environmental setting”. The researchers essentially built a smartphone microscope that can be used to detect the presence of lead in water, even in very small amounts. The hope is this technology can be applied in the future to a commercial application that would make it easier for anyone to test their water for lead, so they could take action if lead was detected.