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EPA Awards Nearly $100,000 to NanoSafe, Inc. to Develop Technology That Will Measure Lead in Drinking Water

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David Sternberg (

PHILADELPHIA (September 19, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced nearly $100,000 in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding to NanoSafe, Inc. in Blacksburg, Virginia to help develop technologies that can accurately measure lead levels in drinking water in the home.

SBIR funding helps small, high-tech businesses develop proof of concepts that can be brought to market and commercialization. NanoSafe, Inc. was one of 15 small businesses to receive research funding.

“EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program is awarding funding to these small businesses because they have demonstrated the potential to create technologies that will improve our environment and our economy,” said Administrator Pruitt.  “These technologies are focused on creating cutting-edge products that can help solve today’s complex environmental problems and enhance economic growth.”

NanoSafe, Inc. will use the $99,934 in funding to help develop technology that consumers could use to measure lead concentrations in their home drinking water and determine if those levels are within the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion.  

“Lead levels in drinking water can spike for a variety of complex reasons, leaving the public at risk,” said Dr. Cary Hill, Principal Investigator for the project.  “Our goal with NanoSafe's Mobile Analytical Platform (MAP)TM is to help detect these threats at their earliest stages, when problems can be corrected rapidly and public health risks minimized."

NanoSafe CEO, Dr. Matthew Hull added, "Our nation's aging infrastructure is vulnerable to a variety of public health threats.  NanoSafe uses nanoscale science and engineering to develop new technologies to help identify and eliminate those threats."

These 15 companies are receiving Phase I contracts from EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards contracts annually through a two-phase competition.  Companies compete for a Phase I award of $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues.  After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for a Phase II award of $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

EPA’s SBIR funding boosts local economies by creating jobs and promoting collaborations among small businesses through product testing and research.  This funding also supports technologies aimed at creating cleaner manufacturing materials and better infrastructure in communities.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation.  To be eligible, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.

Learn more about EPA’s SBIR program at