Famous athletes and celebrities promoting charities made silicone wristbands cool more than a decade ago. Now, scientists have developed another use for the colorful, comfortable bands: figuring out what chemicals people are exposed to on a daily basis.
The cover article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, reports how these trendy accessories could already be helping people.
Britt Erickson, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that environmental scientists have long been testing for organic chemicals in the air, water and soil to try to determine whether they might cause harm. Using various tools from air monitors to hand wipes, they’ve measured pesticides and other contaminants in the environment, in homes and in people’s urine. But these methods can be expensive, difficult for subjects to comply with and don’t detect all the compounds individuals are exposed to.