What if your jewelry could alert you to the presence of toxic chemicals? The scenario might not be far off. In partnership with Oregon State University, the Environmental Defense Fund is using a toxin-recording bracelet to assess exposures.
They’re currently sported by 25 volunteers across the country, who will wear them for a week. To the rest of us, it looks like a rubber bracelet worn to support a cause or celebration. But the jewelry can absorb as many as 1,400 different substances. When the bracelets are tested in the lab, researchers can determine exactly what toxic chemicals the subjects were exposed to.
Obviously, this is new technology. And it has the power to terrify: After all, we already know that the average baby is born pre-polluted with as many as 200 different industrial chemicals, and that most of us are walking around with traces of lead, mercury and other contaminants in our blood.
But what if–in the future–these bracelets could be used to help children with asthma recognize the presence of air pollutants that they can’t see? Or parents test the air quality in their homes before they bring a baby home?
I’m not big on jewelry, but I’d wear this bracelet in a heartbeat.