NCHR Comment on Silicone Wristbands as Personal Passive Samplers

The excellent article by O’Connell et al.[1] describes the remarkable utility of silicone bracelets as “chemical exposure monitors,” which can act as a personal data-gathering device to document an individual’s chemical exposures. The authors demonstrate the absorptive capacity of silicone for a diverse array of chemical entities, including pesticides, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and numerous other industrial and consumer product chemicals.

An interesting implication of O’Connell et al. is that millions of women and men worldwide already have silicone biomonitoring devices in their bodies,[2] since silicone is often used for implanted medical devices. Silicone breast implants, like silicone bracelets, have been shown to absorb chemicals from the surrounding tissue milieu that can be analyzed after explantation.[3] Similar to the findings described in O’Connell et al., the authors of the implant study detected chemicals in silicone breast implants in amounts similar to those found in human tissues, suggesting that silicone equilibrates with surrounding tissue and can represent steady-state body burden of such substances. The authors found pesticides, phthalates, flame retardants, and other chemicals. The results were so striking that the authors suggested using removed silicone implants as biomonitoring devices to gain valuable epidemiological information about chemical exposures among these women.

Read the rest of the original article here.

  1. O’Connell, S. G.; Kincl, L. D.; Anderson, K. A.Silicone wristbands as personal passive samplers Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, 48 ( 6) 3327– 3335
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Update on the Safety of Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implants. 2011. (accessed May 22, 2014).
  3. Allan, I. J.; Baek, K.; Kringstad, A.; Roald, H. E.; Thomas, K. V.Should silicone prostheses be considered for specimen banking? A pilot study into their use for human biomonitoring Environ. Int. 2013, 59, 462– 468