A new use for silicone bracelets: Tracking chemical exposure

Are you over the silicone bracelet fad? Don't throw them out just yet. You can use them to track the types of chemicals that you are exposed to on a daily basis.

According to Popular Science: "Researchers from Oregon State University recently tested the bracelets on 92 preschool children and were surprised by the number of harmful toxins the kids encountered in a week. The researchers published a study in the May issue of the journal Environmental Research, as Chemical and Engineering News reports this week.

The silicone wristbands are ideal sampling tools because they are comfortable and easy to wear for extended periods of time without harming the person, the researchers write (they had tested necklaces in previous studies but those weren’t as appealing). In the study, the researchers were looking for 41 types of flame retardants, as childhood exposure to these chemicals has been linked to health problems including decreased cognitive ability, hyperactivity, and obesity. After the children wore the wristbands for a week, the researchers performed a analysis of the chemicals absorbed by the silicone. They found that 60 percent of the samples contained 11 of those compounds. They detected half the chemicals they were looking for, including several that are no longer produced in the United States."

To learn more, read "Those Silicone Bracelets Track Which Chemicals You've Been Exposed To" from Popular Science.