Tests have confirmed that the bracelet is to blame.
The problem came to light in September 2016, when a routine screening of a female infant aged 9 months in Manchester, Connecticut, revealed that she was suffering anemia and had lead blood levels over five times the normal limit. Now, the lead source was finally identified.
CDC officials conducted an environmental assessment of the house the baby was living in. They did find two interior window wells with peeling lead-based paint. However, the baby had no access to the window wells, and her siblings had significantly lower lead levels in their blood (way within normal limits), clearly indicating that a different source was to blame. That’s when the parents told doctors the baby had been intermittently wearing a “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet.”
The bracelet was worn for “teething related discomfort” and the baby would sometimes chew on it. Since lead poisoning is often caused by oral ingestion of lead containing products, this immediately stood out so the CDC analyzed the bracelet, identifying its spacer beads as the source of toxicity.
The parents say they bought the bracelet at a fair and no warnings or branding was found on it. Doctors Patricia Garcia and Jennifer Haile, lead treatment specialists at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center tried to trace down the produced, but they couldn’t. At this point, it’s unsure how many other such bracelets are on the market and who manufactures them.
Since lead is a potent neurotoxin, it can affect every system in the body. It is especially associated with lowered IQ and numerous behavioral problems. Needless to say, the bracelet couldn’t do anything to help. For dealing with teething pains (which are fairly normal), doctors recommend gentle gum massage, cold teething rings, and cloths.
This serves as yet another reminder to stick to real, evidence based medicine. Not only is homeopathy completely ineffective, but crack medicine can be very dangerous — as was the case here. If the problem hadn’t been identified this early, things could have gotten a lot worse.