Wristbands that Detect Toxic Chemicals

by Stephanie

Silicone wristbands have become a popular trend and fashion statement for showing off many different special causes as well as support for various organizations. What if these bracelets could detect how many deadly toxins you consume while going about your every day life?

Scientists recently have recently created wristbands that detect levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other types of harmful chemicals that may be in your immediate surroundings. Wouldn’t you want to know if you’ve been overexposing yourself to these harmful pollutants to try and limit your exposure?

Oregon State University recently tested these new monitoring bracelets with 30 test subjects for 30 days and discovered over 49 substances were found in the bands that ranged from cigarette smoke, flame retardants, and other harmful pesticides that these people encountered. They also tested a group of eight volunteers that worked as roofers for eight hours and discovered all of the roofers were exposed to highly harmful pollutants while at work and those who were in more enclosed spaces had higher levels of exposure. According to Professor Anderson, silicone material was used because it can easily capture chemicals from the air due to its porous makeup, like a sponge. Since 2010, Professor Anderson has been working with silicone as a passive sampler to conduct tests on how well individual exposures could detect these chemical substances that we are come across while going about our daily routines.

These wristbands as of now are not available to the general public, but these researchers at OSU are working on more tests and analyses to help make clearer distinctions as to what other types of chemical substances can be detected. These wristbands may be beneficial to people concerned with their air quality, those who work around a lot of pollutants, and even those who are pregnant and want to keep track of air pollutant exposures. Researchers at OSU urge those interested in these wristbands to signup for continuous updates on their Citizen Science website,  https://citizen.science.oregonstate.edu.

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