Fact Check

Loom Bands Cancer Risk

Have rainbow loom bands been recalled over cancer fears?

Published Sep 1, 2014


Claim:   Rainbow loom bands have been pulled from the market because they are carcinogenic.


Example: [Collected via email, August 2014]

Loom band charms taken off toy store shelves over cancer fears.
Wondering if this is Fact or Fiction, it was posted on Facebook??
Please help, my daughter has one. Should i throw it out?


Please tell me if the above information on Facebook is true or not. We love these bands and they entertain my daughter for HOURS.


Origins:   In late August 2014, emails began to circulate regarding the popular fad known as "loom bands" in the UK, or "rainbow looms" in the US. The arts and crafts toy was hugely popular earlier in 2014; and although the initial frenzy has subsided, rainbow loom bands are still widely used by tweens.

Given the serious nature of the claim circulating, many parents have sought clarification about the rainbow loom bands cancer scare.

As is often the case when a warning such as

the rainbow loom bands one surfaces, the actual details quickly became lost in the cacophony of rising concern. Parents scrambled to find out whether their children's loom band kits indeed contained potential carcinogens and, if so, how grave a danger was presented by the toys.

Currently, British retailer The Entertainer has pulled loom band charms from its shelves pending further testing. It was revealed that rainbow loom charms made by companies other than Rainbow Loom brand contained as much as 40 percent by weight levels of phthalates, far higher than the 0.1 percent allowable by law in both the UK and the US.

On 29 August 2014, The Entertainer released a statement confirming that rainbow loom band charms had been pulled from stores. Testing is currently underway on rainbow loom accessories to determine whether they contain levels of phthalates reported in the initial tests:

It was brought to our attention that loom charms purchased from one of our stores may contain phthalates.

At The Entertainer, children's safety is our number one priority so as a precautionary measure we have removed all loom charms from sale with immediate effect whilst we conduct a full investigation.

Any concerned customers will be offered a full refund or exchange in any of our stores.

It should be noted that phthalates were found in off-brand rainbow loom band charms, and that the Rainbow Loom branded items appear to be safe.

Last updated:   1 September 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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