Don’t buy body jewelry from retailers that do not offer these qualifications.
https://jewelry.piercing.org/ explains how not to get taken advantage of:
First, make sure the body jewelry is chemically safe.
- Some PMMA acrylic could be chemically safe, but it is virtually impossible to know if that is what you are buying without certification of tests from the manufacturer. Self curing monomer is reported to cause more allergic and irritant reactions.
- Some PTFE Teflon could be chemically safe, but the same applies to know your source is refined for medical quality contact with human tissue. (ASTM F754)
- Some plastics have very unsafe endocrine disrupting properties.
Make sure the body jewelry is smooth and properly cleaned.
Make sure the body jewelry can be, and has been, safely sterilized.
- Steam autoclave (by the studio) or ETO gas or H2O2 gas plasma (by the manufacturer) are sterilization options; dry heat and liquid chemical baths are not effective.
- Finding sterilized acrylic jewelry is uncommon, and there is very little one could do in a home setting to get it clean enough to put in contact with stretched, damaged or healing piercings.
Please don’t share the image without my site linked on it, because although the facts are on point, it was quoted out of context. Evidence indicates that we should not be using acrylic that does not meet implant specifications for new, healing or stretching piercings, but I do not encourage shaming people for their jewelry choices.
The statement on this image should be taken in the context of a much longer and more involved conversation on body jewelry materials safety in which we discussed the potential advantages and disadvantages of different products. Generalization, even for the sake of summarization for a sales pitch, can be inappropriate.
I suggest that we stop using acrylic for body jewelry.
You may note from my website and other scholarly references that there are some dental and medical applications for some specifications of PMMA, including a few for corneal implant and bone cement. These specifications are not used for body jewelry by any company that I have been able to find. I’d be interested to see them if someone knows of a manufacturer working with these implant specifications of PMMA or other polymers. Please contact me about it.
Even the dental PMMA acrylic used for body jewelry is also less safe than it should be, plus it is virtually impossible to identify what the composition of body jewelry without laboratory analysis. X-ray fluoroscopy would be one appropriate means to determine the chemical composition, but it will not give you much indication of what will be released under wearing conditions.
The burden of proof is on the manufacturer of body jewelry to test and validate the safety of any product that they bring to market.
- ASTM F3087 – Standard Specification for Acrylic Molding Resins for Medical Implant Applications developed by Committee F04.11
- Methyl methacrylate:
Chemical hazards of the components released from MMA and PMMA
- Acrylic allergies information (Candulor Dental Prosthetics)
- Sensitization to Acrylic Denture materials
- Local and Systemic Effects of Unpolymerised Monomers:
One of the effects noted with low quality polymer body jewelry are sores that appear on the piercing in contact with the material after prolonged exposure. This may be contact stomatitis: “Contact allergy results from a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that occurs when antigens of low molecular weight penetrate the skin or mucosa of susceptible individuals. When allergic reactions were noted, they were described as white, necrotic lesions on the mucosa; either as small, multiple lesions or as large ulcers mimicking aphthous stomatitis.”
- Surgical applications of methyl methacrylate: a review of toxicity.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19864224For surgical implant quality materials: “At present, MMA is not thought to be carcinogenic to humans under normal conditions of use.”
Interesting commentary on the subject here:
Exactly the reason why we are not fans of acrylic body jewelry. Please share with your friends and help encourage them to wear more body (and earth) friendly materials!
More discussion here:
Hi Brian. Am genuinely interested in two issues surrounding jewellery, materials and suitability. Could you possibly point to me some of the work surrounding your findings on the toxicity of acrylic as a material for healed piercings and also any information regarding possible tissue damage resulting from using it. Kind thanks