Alternate Title

Braving the elements: Loss of metals from Mardi Gras beads due to handling and weathering

Document Type



The largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. are found along the Gulf of Mexico coast. With increasing awareness of and concern for environmental and human health risks due to pollution from Mardi Gras celebrations, there is a need for studies to quantify potential harms. We conducted a 2—part study to determine whether use—related handling and weathering of common Mardi Gras beaded necklaces results in loss of potentially harmful metals to the environment at levels of ecological or human health concern. Our data indicate that weathering and use—related handling can cause metals to be shed from the metallic coating of beads to the environment. The quantity of metals released depended on the color of beads and type or intensity of handling. Even light handling, however, resulted in measurable release of metallic coating and comprising metals. In addition to indicating the need for personal caution, our data suggest metal forms that are most soluble in water may pose the greatest potential environmental and human health risks. Metals contamination from Mardi Gras beads and other accessories is worthy of additional study and consideration in monitoring efforts.

First Page


Last Page


Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use Statement

No artificial intelligence (AI) was used in the preparation of this manuscript