CDC Finds Lead Poisoning In Child Who Wore 'Homeopathic Magnetic Hematite Healing Bracelet'

Contractors remove lead contamination from a home in Providence, Rhode Island in 2006. Photo: AP

Homeopathy is, at best, worthless and potentially dangerous. Lead poisoning is always bad and dangerous. Lead poisoning from a supposedly homeopathic product is thus ultra-terrible. 

On Friday, the Centres for Disease Control in the US published in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report an account of a female infant in Manchester, Connecticut who "showed normocytic anemia and a blood lead level of 41 μg/dL (levels exceeding 5 μg/dL are abnormal)." Epidemiological investigators determined the lead poisoning was unlikely to have come from two interior window wells with lead-based paint, the CDC reported, but the parents of the child later informed them the child had occasionally worn a "homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet" purchased at a local fair.

The "hematite" bracelet's spacer beads, when tested, showed lead levels in excess of 17,000 ppm — far higher than the Consumer Product Commission's 2010 limit of 100 ppm in items "manufactured and marketed for children." Investigators could find "no identifying marks indicating metal content or manufacturer," not locate the original vendor.

The CDC recognises no safe blood lead level in children, and warns that any amount of lead in a child's bloodstream can negatively impact the development of almost all of the body's systems. Since young children have a poorly developed blood-brain barrier, the risk of permanent damage to the brain from lead exposure is high.

"High blood levels of lead in children lead to cognitive problems," New York University School of Medicine's chair of the department of environmental medicine, Max Costa, told Mic. "Lead lowers the IQ of children. They're more likely to show criminal behaviour."

Exposure typically occurs from lead-contaminated dust, water or materials like paint, though objects with high amounts of lead sometimes end up in children's mouths. While action by public health authorities has lowered average blood lead levels by over 75 per cent since the 1970s, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council, the problem still affects predominantly lower-income communities: "Their homes are more likely to have lead paint, have a yard with contaminated soil, or be situated near polluting facilities."

As Ars Technica noted, regulators including the Food and Drug Administration have long been suspicious of homeopathic remedies which potentially contain dangerous amounts of toxic substances. Hyland's, one of the leading manufacturers of bullshit, scientifically unsupported homeopathic pseudo-medicines, recalled its line of teething tablets in April after the FDA determined the pills contained "widely inconsistent levels of the toxic substance belladonna, aka deadly nightshade." More than 400 reports of sick infants emerged, including 10 infant deaths.

Despite scientific evidence the vast majority of alternative medical treatments don't work, the FDA lacks the authority to crack down on the estimated $US50 ($63) billion industry thanks in large part to well-funded lobbying efforts.

[Ars Technica, CDC]

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Comments

    I'm no fan of homeopathy but could the unfortunate child's home be riddle with lead (old paint on the walls, old toys from grandparents...) and so the stupid bracelet is not to 100% to blame?

      The report mentions above that they tested the paint and it was deemed "unlikely" to have contributed, while the spacers on the bracelet were tested and had huge amounts of lead. Have a read of the story, its says it all.

        The only thing I'll say in defense of homeopathy is that it was the spacers that were lead not the actual magnetite. Hematite itself is an iron oxide and doesn't contain lead.

        That said, I don't think a hematite bracelet is going to do anything other than (maybe) look cool on your wrist.

    Homeopathy is, at best, worthless and potentially dangerous.

    Wow... Just wow.
    How uninformed.

    You do realize that almost all of your store bought "drugs" come from natural substances most of the time... Just concentrated down and capsulized for easier consumption.

      Hahaha ah that's great, I needed a good laugh to start the week.

      You do realise that almost all store bought "drugs" have been developed by scientists who have extensively tested them to prove that they do in fact work. Whereas:

      "Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention."

        homeopathy is well pretty garbage, but if it floats your boat.
        I don't think you can blame it for this tho, more a shonky manufacturer. I doubt homeopathy recommends lead ingestion for babies

      ... and tested.

      Homeopathy doesn't come under the same rulings as medicines, and therefore doesn't have to be tested and trialled as medicines do. Same as "supplements".

      The statement "Homeopathy is, at best, worthless and potentially dangerous" is valid.

    Homeopathic medicine kills children.

    Homeopaths are child killers confirmed.

    On a more serious note this child would have been alive to this dad had they not being given this pesudoscientific bullshit and instead stuck with proven medicial scientific fact.

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