Holiday & Mardi Gras Beads Report

 

December 5, 2013

 

Lead and hazardous flame retardants from recycled plastics used as fillers

Study highlights long-lived hazards of poorly regulated chemical use

(Ann Arbor, MI) – New research finds thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals in plastic beaded products, including beaded holiday garlands and Mardi Gras beads. The study is a collaboration between HealthyStuff.org (a project of the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit organization, the Ecology Center) and VerdiGras (a nonprofit organization in New Orleans dedicated to greening Mardi Gras). Researchers found most beads have one or more hazardous chemicals that have been linked to serious health threats.

“These plastic bead products are being used as a dumping ground for old plastic waste, which is loaded with toxic chemicals,” said Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center ’s principle researcher. “We estimate that a single year ’s inventory of Mardi Gras beads may contain up to 900,000 pounds of hazardous flame retardants and 10,000 pounds of lead.” Gearhart and other researchers used electron microscope imagery to examine the interior and exterior of the beads. In addition, researchers compared the elemental composition of the beads to plastic waste streams, leading to the conclusion that recycled plastic waste is the most likely filler ingredient in the beads. In addition, plastic waste streams can contain the hazardous chemicals identified in the study.

Download Compete Study or High Resolution/Print Version

Published on December 5, 2013

Sample Listing

MG Football
high
MG Green plastic cup
low
MG Kiss Me I'm Irish Ball
high
MG LED Toy
medium
MG Plastic Necklace
high
MG Red plastic cup
low
MG Stuffed Car Toy
medium
MG01 Multicolored and multishaped bead necklace
high
MG03 Green bead necklace
high
MG04 White round bead necklace
high
MG05 White round bead necklace
high
MG06 Purple round bead necklace
high
MG07 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG08 White round bead necklace
low
MG09 Green round bead necklace
high
MG10 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG11 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG12 White round bead necklace
low
MG13 Pearl round bead necklace
low
MG14 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG15 White round bead necklace
high
MG16 White round bead necklace
medium
MG17 Gold round bead necklace
high
MG18 Multicolored and multishaped bead rope
high
MG19 Multicolored and multishaped necklace
high
MG20 Gold round bead necklace with medallion
high
MG21 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG22 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG23 Yellow necklace with large rubber light-up bead
medium
MG24 Purple round bead necklace with medallion
low
MG25 Rubber toy
low
MG26 Silver multishaped necklace
high
MG27 Multicolored and multishaped bead bracelet
high
MG28 Multicolored round bead necklace
high
MG29 Gold oval bead necklace
high
MG30 Multicolored and multishaped oval bead necklace
low
MG31 Green round bead necklace with medallion
high
MG32 Rubber toy
low
MG33 Multicolored and multishaped bead bracelet
high
MG34 Necklace with medallion
low
MG35 Spear
high
MG36 Ring
high
MG37 White boot
low
MG38 Glow in the dark bracelet
low
MG39 Hand clapper toy
none
MG40 Orange coin
low
MG50 Silver coin
low
MG51 Green flower
high
MG60 Multicolored and multishaped necklace
high
MG80 Magenta round bead necklace
high
MG81 Pink round bead necklace
high
MG82 Silver round bead necklace
high
MG83 Green round bead necklace
high
MG84 Magenta round bead necklace
high
MG85 Bead necklace with medallion
high
MG86 Purple round bead necklace with medallion
high
MG87 Gold round necklace with medallion
high
IMPORTANT NOTE: HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.