Wednesday, 7 March 2012

SAFETY ALERT - Jequirity Bean Bracelets



Please circulate to all schools, colleges, clusters, area groups, colleagues and other children settings

An alert has been issued by the East Midlands Ambulance Service, in conjunction with the Employment Medical Advisory Service of the Health and Safety Executive with regards to the sale of bracelets which may have been purchased, as per the photo above and photos attached.  These bracelets have been on sale at various retail outlets across the UK, including the Eden Project in Cornwall.  Information has been issued from those retailers urging customers to return the red and black bracelets made from the Jequirity bean.  The Jequirity bean bracelet is made from the deadly seed of the plant abrus precatorious.  It contains the toxin abrin that if swallowed, has the potential to kill in doses of just 3 micrograms.  Abrin is chemically similar to ricin, a chemical warfare agent.  People who have bought, or are in possession of the bracelets, are being urged to bag them, then wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes. 

Abrus precatorius has many names around the world including Jequirity, Crab's Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie Bead.  A native of Indonesia, it is a legume with long, feather-like leaves and mostly red and black beads used in percussion instruments and jewellery. The plant grows in tropical and subtropical areas. It has long been a symbol of love in China, and its name in Chinese means 'mutual love bean'. In Trinidad in the West Indies the brightly coloured seeds are strung into bracelets and worn around the wrist or ankle to ward off jumbies or evil spirits. A tea is made from the leaves and used to treat fevers, coughs and colds.
Ray West (RW Safety Solutions) spoke with Hampshire Constabulary Force Enquiries Officer (Winchester HQ) earlier this evening.  You are advised that if you or any of your children are in possession of one these bracelets, then you should double bag the bracelets, seal the bag and hand it in to your local police station where they will arrange safe disposal. You may also wish to consider informing parents who may have children with these bracelets.