Posts tagged Mardi Gras Throws
It’s a scandal of the worst degree when beads have high lead content. Check out verdigras.com and verdigras.org for additional information. Verdigras is a doctor led carnival organization that is trying to get Mardi Gras to green up. After testing a cross section of beads found on the parade routes, they found the beads exceeded safe lead levels some of the time, and the lead could be found throughout the beads in some cases. There were other chemicals found in some beads, some from flame retardant compounds in higher than allowed concentrations.
None of this is good. Little kids put beads into their mouths all the time. That prolonged exposure will make the kids sick. Very sick.
Verdigras’s numbers, produced by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan, are fairly frightening. Parts per million is the measurement used. The highest of lead level found was 29,864 ppm in a green bead. More than 60% of all beads tested had concentrations of lead above 100 ppm.
Dan Kelly of Beads by the Dozen, has been testing his own beads for several years. His results from 2005 and 2006 show his beads’ lead levels are below the U.S. standard of 600 ppm.
Mardi Gras Made in China is a film that depicts the real story of how Mardi Gras beads are made. The documentary follows the story of four teenage workers who sew plastic beads together with needles and thread and also pull them from a machine. Each story provides insight into their economic realities, self-sacrifice, dreams of a better life, and the severe discipline imposed by living and working in a factory compound.
The raw material for the beads comes from polyethylene and polystyrene — oil based liquids supplied by the oil mega companies (and coming out of Iraq). Here, the film comes full circle. After Mardi Gras ends in New Orleans, the beads are left on the ground where some people collect them and send them as care packages to U.S. soldiers in Iraq where they celebrate Mardi Gras by tossing beads into the streets! Hence, disposable culture is exported overseas as a cultural ritual. In other words, the beads go full circle from a liquid material in Iraq, to China, to New Orleans, and back to the streets of Baghdad where soldiers exchange them in a material form.
Now in its fourth year, Operation Overseas Mardi Gras plans to send 1,500+ boxes filled with Carnival supplies to the troops in Afghanistan & Iraq. If you are interested in sending your own box, email mardigras at soldiersangels dot org for the address. Cherry Blackwell of Destrehan is running the program this year, covering for Tawny Tallo, who is in Basic Training.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
1. Go to the Post Office and get the 12″×12″ flat rate box that says APO and FPO. It is free.
2. Pick up Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note (2976-A). List everything in your box on the form in detail.
3. Fill the box with Mardi Gras themed items (no pork products, liquids or obscenity); throws (not jumbled together);costumes, LA inspired food products, costumes, Mardi Gras decorations, and cards made by kids.
4. Place a nice note in the box with your return address on it.
5. Write Soldiers’ Angels Operation Overseas Mardi Gras on the side of the box.
6. E-mail us at MardiGras at soldiersangels dot org and you will be given the address to mail the items.
7. Head to the post office with customs form filled out and box of Mardi Gras cheer. Cost $12.50 to
mail and you must be present to mail it.