January 8, 2019
Parents of young children have to be ever vigilant for dangerous products. A recent report demonstrated that dangers can be in unexpected places.
A seemingly healthy nine-month-old girl was seen for a routine exam. The blood level test came back elevated at 41 micrograms/deciliter of lead. Any level greater than 5 is considered abnormal. Lead levels on her two siblings were normal at less than 3 micrograms/deciliter. The house was examined for possible sources of lead and none were found.
The parents reported that the child intermittently wore a handmade bracelet. It was purchased at a local artisan fair. It was promoted as a “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet.” The child wore the bracelet when having teething pain and sometimes chewed on it when in pain.
Analysis of the beads revealed that one type on the bracelet was positive for lead at a high level at 17,000 parts per million. Unfortunately, the vendor records were not available and the bracelet maker couldn’t be found.
This bracelet posed two dangers to the child: choking if the beads separated (one the parents should have thought of) and the “hidden” danger of the lead.
It’s interesting that the bracelet’s description included three nonsensical healing claims: homeopathy, magnetism, and hematite. None have any proven healing powers and, as seen, may be a real health hazard.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 09/01/17