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  1. #1

    Default Are Pearl Party Oysters Dangerous? A UK investigation.

    ⚠️ This article contains important information for pearl party vendors and those who choose to open oysters at home ⚠️

    Formaldehyde, when you hear this word no doubt you think of a funeral home or embalming. It may surprise you to know that formaldehyde has other uses too.

    We here at Pearl Information Association became aware a few months ago, that the oysters that were being used for entertainment purposes could contain formaldehyde. We found this very concerning as formaldehyde is a hazardous substance. It has taken us quite some time to find somewhere that would even test these oysters for us. Some places refused to even work with the possibility of a formaldehyde contaminated product, some didn’t have the necessary equipment. After a lot of searching we finally found somewhere to test them. Testing of these oysters was very expensive so we decided to have tested 2 of the most commonly used oysters, the juvenile akoya oysters with freshwater pearls inside. We obtained these 2 oysters from the same supplier, the results will go to show that ordering these oysters is like playing Russian roulette with your health.

    The first oyster was broken down and tested for formaldehyde, the results were negative.

    The second oyster was broken down and tested. This oysters result was that it was 7.7% formaldehyde! This means that 1.2 grams of the oysters weight was in fact formaldehyde. This result was shocking even to the analyst who did the test.

    An anonymous source told us “I am shocked at these levels and I find this concerning. Formaldehyde is very dangerous. I don’t think these oysters should be opened at all. I especially don’t think they should be opened in large numbers or by children.”

    So what side effects can formaldehyde cause?
    •Irritation of the eyes. This can include itching eyes, watery eyes and a burning sensation.
    •Respiratory problems. This can include a burning sensation in the nose and throat, coughing, wheezing and tightness of the chest. It can lead to long term health issues such as asthma.
    •Skin irritation. Formaldehyde can cause skin irritation and can even cause eczema. Those who are particularly sensitive to formaldehyde would not even need to touch it for a reaction to occur, for some even just breathing in the fumes can cause skin irritation.
    • Formaldehyde is also carcinogenic. It can cause cancer of the throat or nasal sinuses if inhaled.

    These are just a few of the more common problems contact with formaldehyde can cause. There are also many others.

    This is very concerning as some vendors open these oysters in high quantities on a regular basis. Some have begun to wear gloves due to skin irritation. But don’t be fooled into thinking gloves will protect you from exposure. Formaldehyde evaporates into gas form and is then inhaled by not only the person opening the oyster but also those around them. There are also suppliers who sell a kit that includes the oysters for children’s birthday parties. This is obviously very worrying.


    EU safety guidelines say that products for public use, such as cosmetics, shouldn’t contain more than 0.2% formaldehyde. The oyster that tested positive contained 7.7% this is way above guidelines. We chose cosmetics as a comparison due to a similarity in skin contact.

    Also according to the EU cosmetics directive, if a product had a concentration of formaldehyde more than 0.05% then it must be labelled “Contains formaldehyde”. The oysters we received had no labels on at all.

    We have contacted the health and safety executive to find out more about these levels and will give you more information as we receive it.

    If you would like any further information on the testing please ask. We would respectfully ask that high numbers of people do not contact the lab itself as they are very busy.

    If you or someone you know has been affected by possible formaldehyde exposure due to these oysters we ask that you contact us. We can be reached via our facebook page: Pearl Information Association. Alternatively we can also be reached via email at admin@pearlinformationassociation.co.uk

    There is also a petition to ask the UK government to take this seriously. We would greatly appreciate anybody who wanted to sign. https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliame...-party-oysters

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    Last edited by Jwymark; 01-31-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    This is important information! I'm going to stick this thread.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    This is important information! I'm going to stick this thread.
    Thank you.

  4. #4
    pppp pearl Senior Guide Member dmj's Avatar
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    im 100% sure they are dangerous i get a migraine each time i see someone advertise them, also when i see the Facebook adds where they open them in front of a webcam i get a weird feeling ( specially when a full on red pearls comes out ) not sure if its a feeling of disappointment in the people doing it or just a a normal hate for scams.

  5. #5

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    I am actually shocked how the party hosts are still being relaxed about this even after the report has been published!.
    If it was me, I would not even risk my health opening another oyster!

  6. #6
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Formaldehyde is a toxic substance, which is rather heavily regulated in both building materials and cosmetics (in the USA). In building materials the concern is the gas emitted by products that use formaldehyde in production (treated woods, drywall, insulation). For cosmetics, it is a contact issue because most people are highly sensitive to formaldehyde exposure...it can cause rash, irritations, and a host of other maladies. And of course, that's aside from the fact that it is listed by the USEPA as a probable carcinogen....in other words, do these idiots realize this stuff is highly likely to cause cancer?!?
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    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    I went online to look for the MSDS of the closest form to the strength found in the oysters 7.7% and found formalin 8%.
    It is very dangerous.
    Carcinogen
    Mutagenic effects
    Reproductive effects
    Developmental effects
    Teratogenictiy Mutation
    Burns by all exposure routes

    Many of these ladies are doing this job in their homes exposing the household occupants including children to the formaldehyde as it turns to gas. Also themselves handling these oysters by the hour with bare hands and it absorbing into their skin.
    Some vendors are marketing these oysters for in home entertainment, for adults and children for parties.
    No warnings come with their use as far as I can see on the sites.

  8. #8
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
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    Suppliers using formaldehyde are really stupid, add to be dangerous: museums themselves don't use formaldehyde to preserve molluscs, they recommend 70 degrees alcohol as the best to do that (and so, without any dangers, unless to drink to much oysters with....)
    Last edited by ericw; 10-30-2017 at 09:58 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyPearl View Post
    Formaldehyde is a toxic substance, which is rather heavily regulated in both building materials and cosmetics (in the USA). In building materials the concern is the gas emitted by products that use formaldehyde in production (treated woods, drywall, insulation). For cosmetics, it is a contact issue because most people are highly sensitive to formaldehyde exposure...it can cause rash, irritations, and a host of other maladies. And of course, that's aside from the fact that it is listed by the USEPA as a probable carcinogen....in other words, do these idiots realize this stuff is highly likely to cause cancer?!?
    We have made the supplier we purchased from aware of the results. We were then met with a torrent of abuse from pearl party hosts. Apparently we are scaremongering and formaldehyde doesn't cause cancer. There is just no helping some people. The test results have now been passed to the UK authorities who will most likely do further testing and hopefully stop these dangerous oysters entering the UK.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilliefuzzysocks View Post
    I went online to look for the MSDS of the closest form to the strength found in the oysters 7.7% and found formalin 8%.
    It is very dangerous.
    Carcinogen
    Mutagenic effects
    Reproductive effects
    Developmental effects
    Teratogenictiy Mutation
    Burns by all exposure routes

    Many of these ladies are doing this job in their homes exposing the household occupants including children to the formaldehyde as it turns to gas. Also themselves handling these oysters by the hour with bare hands and it absorbing into their skin.
    Some vendors are marketing these oysters for in home entertainment, for adults and children for parties.
    No warnings come with their use as far as I can see on the sites.
    A follower tried pointing this out too. Unfortunately that also fell on deaf ears.

  11. #11
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    Before I knew any better I opened some of these, I noticed some were mentioning chest and skin issues, the supplier said it’s pearl dust from drilling! I always thought no it’s more than that! I walked away from that and got educated and still handle high quality pearls and set my own, I don’t have the same issues, that to me says 1 thing only and that it it can PNLY have been the chemicals inside, whether that’s ethanol or Formaldehyde, as CNE openly admits to Ethanol and describes the process used. I know I am not the only one who has had some sort of an issue, of course the suppliers are in denial, they are importing an illegal product!

  12. #12

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    Hi, not sure who your supplier was but I think most of these oysters ship from the same place in China. I think it would be worth getting yourself checked out by a Dr if you’re worried about any health issues. I’m new here and I’m not surprised to see posts about these party oysters.

  13. #13
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildheart17 View Post
    Hi, not sure who your supplier was but I think most of these oysters ship from the same place in China. I think it would be worth getting yourself checked out by a Dr if you’re worried about any health issues. I’m new here and I’m not surprised to see posts about these party oysters.
    While that's always a good idea...the issue really here is also long term risk from exposure. In other words, diseases (especially cancer) can take time to develop. It can be quite difficult to pinpoint a chronic disease from an acute exposure. Best advice I can give is to limit risks associated with probable carcinogens. Your best defense is a good offense.
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  14. #14

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    I'm not sure who would be the right person to speak to about health concerns in other countries, we are planning on looking into this soon. With regards to the UK, we have spoken about these results with Public Health England. They have asked us to advise anyone who approaches us that feels they may have been injured from possible formaldehyde exposure to go and see their gp and inform them. They in turn will inform Public Health England, who will if they receive a certain number of complaints issue a public health warning.
    This is just 1 of several UK authorities working with us right now.

  15. #15
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I think JP is quite correct, from reading the medical journal reports and the EU papers it does appear that it's only been a possible problem for people that have been exposed over a long period of time..like in factories etc. The stuff is absolutely everywhere and in everything from glues and resins to car parts..its in medicines and vaccines..it's antibacterial. Your body produces it. So a bit of very diluted exposure, short of undiluted amounts on your skin, seems very unlikely to cause any problems.

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