Where did you find this bag, Tamara!?
When I was filming for my documentary on childhood Lead poisoning (MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic) back in February of 2012, we were in New Orleans (about 40% of the film was shot in New Orleans actually!) It seemed fitting to attend the Mardi Gras parade to try to capture some footage [of what, as it turns out, really amounts to the active intentional poisoning of the streets of New Orleans that happens when people throw these beads all over the street!]. Most of these highly neurotoxic beads – the scores of necklaces that I gathered up – from the tens of thousands that were strewn all over the sidewalks, streets, lawns, fences, railings, trees and bushes and the necks of both adults and children – tested super-high for Lead (and many also had high levels of Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, and/or Antimony).
[I had long-known the beads could contain high levels of heavy metal toxicants – but I also knew they were never individually labeled (something I regularly warned parents about.) And then – as we were at the tail end of the parade, after the people on the floats had finished throwing all of their beads one guy on a float tossed this bag out in my direction…]
When I picked it up and examined it, I thought. “oooh — THIS should be interesting!…
I am such a Lead-geek (collecting toxic things from around the world whenever I can) that I was super-excited to have this Mardi Gras bead bag for my collection – with its blatant and clear warning on the outside of the package “NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY CHILDREN…” Amazing! [Unfortunately this bag was stolen from me (along with many other things from my original collection of Leaded “memorabilia”) in August of 2016, and I don’t expect to ever see it again – but at least I still have this photo that captured it!
Please note: the widely-held mistaken belief that there is a certain age above which Lead and the other metallic neurotoxicants are somehow “less dangerous” is complete BS — while a young child is particularly vulnerable – due both to their ongoing and intense developmental processes, and also their relatively low body mass – exposure to these metals is extremely hazardous to the health of children of all ages — and indeed to adults as well.
Please do not let children play with Mardi Gras beads of unknown age or origin. [Mardi Gras beads I have tested from The Dollar Tree stores (in the past year) have been Lead-free, and Mardi Gras beads from Disney Parks (also from recent years) that I have tested have been Lead-free — so those are two better choices, if you must have these in your life.]
Some additional reading that may be of interest:
- Posts with Mardi Gras beads that I have tested (and their test results).
- Posts with other costume jewelry I have tested.
As always thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.