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Sterling silver beads are "safe": 92.5% silver, the remainder copper. Do not eat, due to choking hazard!

Pewter beads of modern manufacture (post 1970) SHOULD be lead free. Older pewter was a lead-tin alloy. Now I think tin-antimony-other. BUT occasionally things made-in-China are not made to US standards, and are eventually recalled. Probably less than 1/2% of all manufactured.

If you are concerned about lead, note that "lead crystal" glassware and beads contain just that, LEAD, to improve the index of refraction (sparkle). Not a good idea to let your kids suck or chew on jewelry. But handling and kid contact should be very low risk.

Plumbing is the biggest source of lead ingestion that I am aware of. Here in PA, solder for plumbing in now lead-free. But thats only in the past few years. Secondary lead sources are lead paint in houses (pre-1976) and lead-contaminated soil (from leaded gas fumes, pesticides, house paint flakes, etc)

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