It turns out that silicone wrist-wear acts like a second human skin to absorb toxic compounds from the air.

Apparently the silicone bracelets we wear are useful for raising awareness about much more than just a charitable cause. According to the Chemical & Engineering News, the colourful wrist-wear can actually mimmic how the body absorbs toxic compounds, trapping pollutants from the air while on our wrists.

The CEN’s revelation was in response to a study carried out be Oregon State University, which set out to discover whether preschool-aged children had been exposed to flame-retardant chemicals at home. With silicone bracelets on their wrists, 92 kids went home to act as mobile pollution-catchers for the day, before their parents returned the wristbands to researchers at OSU for analysis.

To the surprise of the team of OSU researchers, it transpired that the children had been exposed to many polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which aren’t actually produced in the US anymore, as well as organophosphate flame retardants that are used as substitutes for the former.

The study, led by environmental chemist Kim Anderson, is just one of several projects currently underway to measure the effectiveness of silicone wristbands to record chemical exposure not just from the air, but also from water and personal care products.

If you’ve suddenly developed a gruesome curiosity about the chemicals knocking about your house, you can find out more at myexposeme.com – a site co-founded by Anderson to promote personal environmental monitoring using silicone bracelets.