Blue Metallic Plastic Mardi Gras Beads.
When filming for my documentary in New Orleans in February of 2012 we collected quite a few sets of Mardi Gras beads, including this set.
When tested with an XRF instrument the blue plastic beads pictured had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 15,800 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 2,028 ppm
- [This was in 2012 before I started regularly noting the presence of all toxicants, so I don’t have notes as to whether or not these particular beads tested positive for any other heavy metals.]
To see more Mardi Gras beads I have tested, click here.
The amount of lead that is considered toxic in an item intended for children is anything 90 parts per million (ppm) or higher in the paint or coating. On the outside of the bags that Mardi Gras beads come in they are labeled with a warning that says “Not intended for children under 12 years old.” However the individual strands are not required to be labeled (given they are not being sold as a child’s toy.)
To learn more about XRF testing, Click Here.
The only Mardi Gras beads that I have personally tested that were consistently lead free are new ones from Disney Land or Disney World.
To see more costume jewelry I have tested, Click Here.
Aside from the possibility of safe Mardi Gras beads from Disneyland, I always recommend avoiding giving these to children to play with. The Lead can be in both the coating (the exterior paint/colorant) and some of the substrate (plastic). The coating will often chip or peel with regular play use by children. Children also frequently can be seen putting beads like this in their mouth, making them especially dangerous if they are high Lead.
For safer choices for beads for your children check out this post.
Most of the Mardi Gras beads that I have tested and found to be positive for both Lead and Cadmium.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.