Wristbands Detect Exposure to Dozens of Everyday Chemicals

Wristbands developed by Oregon researchers detected everyday exposure to a slew of potentially harmful chemicals over the course of one week.

Mnet 121229 Siliconebracelet 0

Wristbands developed by Oregon researchers detected everyday exposure to a slew of potentially harmful chemicals over the course of one week.

Scientists at Oregon State University introduced the silicone bracelet earlier this year, which can absorb and detect about 1,400 different substances.

A reporter from KGW-TV in Portland joined 27 other volunteers who wore wristbands for one week as part of an experiment conducted by advocacy group the Environmental Defense Fund.

The wristbands showed evidence of exposure to substances found in flame retardants, pesticides and personal care products — many of which are linked to potential health problems.

Environmental and public health groups have long decried a lack of oversight of the chemical industry. Of the tens of thousands of chemicals currently used in commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency only tested about 200.

Changes, however, could be on the horizon. The House last month voted overwhelmingly to update chemical regulations unchanged since the 1970s; similar Senate legislation remains pending.

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