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Your Environment. Your Health.

Silicone Wristbands as Personal Passive Samplers

Steven O’Connell, Laurel Kincl, Ph.D., Kim Anderson, Ph.D.
Oregon State University
NIEHS Grants P42ES016465, P30ES000210, R21ES020120, T32ES007060

NIEHS-funded investigators report that commercially available silicone wristbands absorb a wide range of compounds and can be used to passively measure personal exposures. The bands could be a valuable and easy-to-use tool for determining individual exposures.

Before deployment, materials that might interfere with future chemical analyses were reduced with various solvents. The researchers developed a way to extract and analyze an unprecedented number of chemical compounds from silicone wristbands after they are worn. To test the process, they provided 38 volunteers, eight of whom were roofers, with cleaned wristbands. After wearing the wristbands during day-to-day activities for 30 days, the volunteers placed their wristbands in a Teflon bag and sent it to the researchers for analysis. The scientists identified 49 different absorbed substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), flame retardants, and compounds from pesticides and consumer products. They detected absorbed PAHs, including 12 on a federal priority list of harmful pollutants, in all of the roofers’ wristbands.

The test revealed that the wristbands had very good analytical sensitivity, that people will wear them, and that they are easy to use. The researchers say they can screen for and quantify over 1,000 chemicals that may accumulate in the wristbands, including PCBs, industrial chemicals, and consumer and pharmaceutical products.

Citation: O’Connell SG, Kincl LD, Anderson KA. 2014. Silicone wristbands as personal passive samplers. Environ Sci Technol 48(6):3327-3335.

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