The metal charm on the rosary bead strand pictured here was positive for Lead (Pb) at 5,190 ppm when tested with an XRF instrument.
The amount of Lead that is considered toxic in an item made for use by children specifically is anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate or anything 90 ppm or higher in the paint or coating. To my knowledge this item is not intended for use by children.
My concern for an item like this having lead is two-fold:
- The charm is small enough to be swallowed and with this much Lead if it were swallowed by a young child it could be fatal.
- These items are often put up against the mouth (in normal use – as intended) and are also often used as a fidget by younger children, who might put the charm part in their mouth as they are fidgeting – also creating a significant possible exposure risk.
To read more about XRF testing, Click Here.
I am not aware as to whether or not there are actually rosary bead sets made specifically for use by children. All of the rosary bead sets I have tested to date have had either charms, beads or spacer beads that were positive for high levels of Lead. If you know of a source of Lead-free rosary bead sets, please comment below on this post with a link!
For some links to safer bead choices, Click Here.
A simple solution is to choose a rosary strand with beads, charm and spacers where any metal components are made of sterling silver and any non-metal components are made of natural wood, natural seed beads or natural stone beads (or similar.)
To read more about safer choices for jewelry, Click Here.
This is possibly an area where someone could start a new business making explicitly Lead-free rosary beads and charms!
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Rita Gergely says
Tamara, I think that rosaries are not usually made specifically for children until their First Communion–around age 7. There are rosaries made with larger wooden beads and some kind of fiber/string for the connections. The medal used to connect the 5 decades of the rosary the rest would still be metal, and while the cross could be made of wood, it might still have a metal figure of Jesus on it. I am not aware of any Catholic medals that are advertised as lead-free–probably because they are typically used by older children and adults.
Thank you so much for commenting, Rita! This seems like it could be a great business idea for someone!
There is a brand of rosaries for children called “chews life” that are made entirely from silicone, fibrous string, and a white plastic connector. They are meant for little kids to be able to teeth with, like “teething necklaces” that are popular these days. There is also a type of rosary that can be made entirely from knots in synthetic cord that is very popular. A quick google search brought this rosary up that had paracord with stainless steel and wood beads. Not sure if the wood is painted or if the corpus would still be a problem, but would be interested to know. https://www.catholiccompany.com/st-benedict-paracord-rosary-i123960/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAq5meBhCyARIsAJrtdr6VDGcpB3pLSZwAhFqkfpoHGV3hpmUJenlXi48fEavAIfNH9FIZmVUaAjMUEALw_wcB
Also found a handmade one with a stainless steel corpus and beads, but which might have issues with the center bead https://www.etsy.com/listing/1250903681/stainless-steel-miraculous-double-faced?gbraid=0AAAAADtcfRIliVYgFnE4Xv4V9k08-kDEX&gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_-jewelry&utm_custom1=_k_Cj0KCQiAq5meBhCyARIsAJrtdr41UMyATkbCblpnNih1SFXef4I9g2o0VMQ-a37CVEANbmOizYMEonIaAiQgEALw_wcB_k_&utm_content=go_12665398257_121762925993_511610210343_pla-295491029933_m__1250903681_468329220&utm_custom2=12665398257&gbraid=0AAAAADtcfRIliVYgFnE4Xv4V9k08-kDEX&gclid=Cj0KCQiAq5meBhCyARIsAJrtdr41UMyATkbCblpnNih1SFXef4I9g2o0VMQ-a37CVEANbmOizYMEonIaAiQgEALw_wcB
I would totally be interested in making lead safe rosaries if you would’ve willing to test some prototypes.
Thanks for sharing these links!