For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals — including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic). Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
This is the fourth set of faux pearls I have published here on my site. Since there is also no mark or maker on these pearls (as with most vintage faux pearls) I will do my best to describe some of the qualities of this set that cannot be easily identified in a photo.
These feel less like real pearls than others tested and written about here on the site. They are lighter weight. I was a teenager in the 1980s, and these remind me of the heavy plastic faux pearls I had at that time. They are almost like a heavier version of Mardi Gras beads. They are an off-white/light cream color. They are brighter white than some of the other faux pearls. They are individually knotted. They are uniform, and this is a very long strand. There is no clasp (it looks like it has broken off), but the bit of metal where it was attached does not look like either gold or silver (it is more of a coppery brown color).
When tested with an XRF instrument, these “pearls” came in with the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 4,687 +/- 99 ppm
- Arsenic (As): 140 +/- 54 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): Negative/ Non-Detect
- Mercury (Hg): Negative/ Non-Detect
For comparison, Lead is considered toxic in newly manufactured items intended for use by children at 90 parts per million Lead and higher.
Note: The faux pearls that are made to look and feel like real pearls (the ones generally made of glass) are more likely to be painted with a high Lead paint than the lighter plastic ones; although (as you can see from this example), this is not always the case.
#SimpleSolution #SaferChoice: Buy only REAL pearl necklaces (modern real pearls can actually be found in fairly inexpensive options) and ideally with real silver clasps. Alternately, choose necklaces with natural stones. Here is an article with more information about that!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!