OSU group hands out pollution-detecting bracelets in Houston aft - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU group hands out pollution-detecting bracelets in Houston after Hurricane Harvey

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(KPTV) -

Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana, leaving residents facing the possibility they are being exposed to toxic chemicals in the receding flood waters.

Oregon State professor Kim Anderson and her team are stepping in to help those people determine exactly what they have been exposed to from the receding waters.

Anderson, an environmental chemist at OSU, designed silicone wristbands that look like the fashion accessories seen on people's arms to raise awareness for different causes.

The difference is that Anderson’s bracelets act like sponges, soaking up chemicals from air and water.

“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 here in the laboratory,” she explained to FOX 12 last year.

Three weeks after Harvey hit Texas, Anderson and her colleagues flew down to Houston and convinced about 36 people to wear them over the coming weeks. Those bands will then be sent to a lab to be tested.

Anderson tried to sample the air and water after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but her team wasn't able to hand out the bands because of rules against studying human subjects.

Since then, the team got permission from the Institutional Review Board to hand out the bands.

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