Research assistant Linda Chu extracts green wristband similar to ones used in study. Photo via newscenter.sdsu.edu

A team of researchers at San Diego State University have developed a silicone wristband that children can wear to monitor harmful exposure to nicotine, the university announced Thursday.

Wristbands have been used effectively prior to the team’s study to monitor exposure to other chemicals like pesticides and flame retardants, but nicotine exposure was a new frontier. The wristbands are similar to those worn for cancer awareness and bearing motivational sayings.

They’re also a cheaper and simpler way to measure a child’s nicotine exposure, which can be challenging to study according to SDSU professor Jenny Quintana, who led the research team.

“It is important to measure exposure in all groups, but children are often overlooked because it’s difficult to test them,” Quintana said. “Children are more challenging than adults, but if you don’t measure exposure well, you will not be able to tell if interventions or policy changes or other things actually worked and had an effect.”

The research team studied three groups of children who were each exposed to smokers, e-cigarette users and non-smokers. The youngsters wore one wristband for two days and two wristbands for seven days. The team then collected urine samples to check for metabolized nicotine.

Both the urine tests and the wristbands produced similar results concerning nicotine exposure levels, according to Quintana. The team plans to continue research on smoke and nicotine exposure using the wristbands.

“This is all exciting because it can potentially measure exposure in adults and exposure to more than just nicotine,” Quintana said. “We can now think about using these wristbands to measure other compounds such as car or truck exhaust and other air pollutants in impacted communities.”

— City News Service

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