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Those silicone rubber wristbands people wear in support of an organization or cause may provide useful health information. A new study from the Oregon State University found such wristbands could provide information on environmental chemicals people are exposed to daily, as silicone can absorb a variety of different compounds.
Researchers instructed participants to wear modified silicone wristbands in different environments for varying amounts of time. For example, roofers wore the wristbands for tracking occupational chemical exposure.
The result? Forty-nine different substances were absorbed by the wristbands, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which have caused tumors and birth defects in assorted animal studies. Such effects have not been apparent in humans at this point.
"Silicone personal samplers present an innovative sampling technology platform producing relevant, quantifiable data," the researchers note in the study, which was published in Environmental Science & Technology.
The researchers hope the wristbands can work as chemical exposure monitors and therefore prevent overexposure.