Mardi Gras beads contain high levels of lead that far exceed all known safety standards – standards that are in themselves too low as experts admit there is no safe level of lead exposure. Children who touch Mardi Gras beads will have their hands coated with a fine dust of lead, even though it will not be visible to the naked eye. Beads that are thrown on the ground will poison the soil. This dirt is tracked into the home, spreading even more lead. Pets that play in the dirt and with beads will also be exposed to higher amounts of lead. Lead can kill our pets. In children, Lead Poisoning causes lifelong problems such as brain damage, learning disabilities, aggressive behavior, and damage to all organs of the body.
This Mardi Gras season, follow these safety tips:
- Never put Mardi Gras beads in your mouth
- Wash hands after touching the beads
- Bring baby wipes with you to the parades to use frequently on children’s hands
- Never keep the beads as toys in your child’s room or play area
- Recycle the beads
- Wear gloves if you have to handle a lot of beads
- Do not store beads in the hot sun
- Do not leave beads on the ground
- Do not let your pets play with Mardi Gras beads
- Never burn Mardi Gras beads
Mardi Gras beads also often contain other toxins such as flame retardants & arsenic.
Unfortunately, the only way to prevent exposure to lead poisoning and other toxins from Mardi Gras beads is to avoid them all together.
Regulations on the safety of Mardi Gras beads need to be strengthen to ban such toxic products from use.