Baby Suffers Lead Poisoning from Magnetic Teething Bracelet
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Baby Suffers Lead Poisoning from Magnetic Teething Bracelet

Thursday, December 07, 2017By Richard Alexander

A 9-month old Connecticut infant developed abnormally high blood lead levels after chewing on a lead magnetic bead bracelet. During a routine checkup, her blood lead level tested at 41 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) which was alarmingly higher than the normal level of 5 ug/dL. Investigators with the Center for Disease Control visited the infant’s home and found windows with peeling lead-based paint. However, the baby’s siblings did not have high levels of lead in their blood which indicated the windows were not the source of blood poisoning.

Investigators then found a handmade bracelet that the parents had placed on the baby’s wrist. It was marketed as a “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet” and the parents had purchased it at a local artisan fair. The parents gave the baby the bracelet to help with teething pain.

When investigators tested the bracelet beads, they found some with lead levels of 17,000 parts per million (ppm) which is excessively higher than the amount considered safe for children’s products. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children’s products should only safely contain 90 ppm or 100 ppm depending on the type of product.

The most common cause of lead-poisoning in children in through ingesting something with lead. In 2003 and 2006, lead-containing jewelry and charms marketed to children were responsible for several cases of severe poisoning and death. In response to these cases, the CPSC set limits on the amount of lead allowed in products marketed to children. Each year, children’s products are recalled for exceeded the maximum limits of lead. Importantly, these limits only apply to products that are marketed to children. Products marketed to adults, like the magnetic bracelet for example, are not regulated for lead by the CPSC.

For children, no amount of lead exposure is safe. Lead can affect nearly every part of the body and often has no obvious symptoms. Severe lead poisoning can include confusion, seizures, coma and death.

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