HealthyStuff.org

Mardi Gras Beads

Healthystuff.org tested Mardi Gras bead necklaces, bracelets, and toys. In this study we detected a wide range of hazardous substances, including metals such as lead (Pb) and Cadmium (Cd); phthalate plasticizers; brominated flame retardants (BFR's); and chlorinated flame retardants (CFR's).

Mardi Gras bead findings:

  • Over half of the products tested (56 of 87) had levels of lead above 100 ppm. For comparison purposes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limits lead in children's product to 100 ppm.
  • More than half of the products tested (51 of 87) had levels of bromine above 400 ppm, suggesting the use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
  • 45% had BFR levels in the range of 1-2% by weight.
  • Electron microscope images of the beads show fragments of material that appear to be used as filler in the production of the beads. Many of these fragments have halogenated flame retardants in them, including:
    • decaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether)
    • tetrabromobisphenol A(TBBPA)
  • About 63% (55 of 87) had levels of chlorine above 3,500 ppm, suggesting the use of either PVC or chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs).
  • The interior of Mardi Gras beads were tested and found to contain hazardous substances as high as the exterior coating of the beads.
  • A Mardi Gras football contained about 29% phthalates by weight, including Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (280,000 ppm), a phthalate banned by CPSC.

Holiday Beaded Garlands

For this study, Healthystuff.org purchased 19 holiday beaded garlands of various colors, shapes and lengths from 6 national retailers (CVS, Walgreens, Lowes, Home Depot, Target and Walmart). These holiday garlands were purchased in Michigan between October and November of 2013.

Holiday Beaded Garland findings:

  • About 74% (14 of 19) of the beaded garlands had bromine levels above 400 parts per million (ppm), suggesting the use of brominated flame retardants.
  • About 42% (8 of 19) of the beaded garlands had Chlorine levels above 3,500 ppm, suggesting the use of PVC or chlorinated flame retardants.
  • The highest level detected for arsenic was 73 ppm.
  • Over two thirds (12 of 19) of the beaded garlands had levels of Lead exceeding 100 ppm. The highest level of Lead was 4,161 ppm found in a beaded garland purchased at Lowes.

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