OSU researcher develops chemical detector wristband - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU researcher develops chemical detector wristband

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An Oregon State University researcher has developed a wristband that can detect what kinds of chemicals its wearer is exposed to on a daily basis.

Kim Anderson, a professor in the university's Agriculture and Life Sciences Department, designed the silicone wristbands to look just like fashion accessories people frequently wear, like the popular Livestrong wristbands, except these bracelets act like sponges, soaking up traces of chemicals.

"The idea is to figure out what your individual exposures are, and have you wear it for some number of days, and take it back to the laboratory and analyze it," Anderson explained.

The chemicals the wristband absorbs are extracted by soaking immersing it in a solvent, then running them concentrated liquid through a mass spectrometer.

"The good news is we're not exposed to as many as some people might think," Anderson said.

The professor said she did find some results that could raise concerns. For instance, there was evidence of exposure to high levels of fragrant compounds typically found in personal care products.

Anderson said high levels of chemicals used in flame-retardant materials could also be problematic since they have been suspected of affecting brain development in children.

Anderson's wristbands were recently used by colleagues at OSU to study pre-school children's exposure to those chemicals.

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