When this small (brand new, 2018) hand-held brass bell was tested with an XRF instrument it had the following reading:
- Lead (Pb): 35,200 ppm +/- 1,000 ppm
The concern I have for these small brass items is that they are often given to children to play with and, especially in the case of high-lead brass, the lead from leaded brass items like this can often wear off on the hands of the person who touches it/uses it/plays with it.
I am especially concerned with the context of using these leaded brass items as part of the curriculum for Montessori programs where “brass polishing” is something the children do as part of the program! Please consider getting these kiddos small silver or stainless items to polish instead. This is truly an exposure concern (especially when the children are working with older high lead brass items that are simple and have no coating – which is part of the concept within the Montessori program.)
The amount of lead that is considered unsafe in an item intended for children is anything 100 ppm lead or higher in the substrate (or 90 ppm lead or higher in the coating.) Most leaded brass falls in the 30,000 to 40,000 ppm range, although I have tested brass items that were both higher and lower lead than that range.
Here are some lead-safe bell options on Amazon.*
- This is a link to a great set of colorful bells that are specifically made to be used by children so are likely to be lead-safe or lead free!
- Here are some stainless steel bells intended for use by birds!
- This unpainted steel cowbell looks like a great option (depending on the application you want to use it for!)
Amazon links are affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking on one of these links I may receive a small percentage of what you spend at no extra cost to you.
Here are a few links discussing brass (or metal) rubbing as part of the Montessori curriculum. If you find a good link to add in here, please post it in the comments. Thank you! This practice is sometimes also used in Waldorf schools.
- Most metal polish is also toxic and should not ever be used by children!
- Polishing wood or rocks is a much better option (not using chemical polishes!)
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts!
Please let me know if you have any questions.