Metal "whiskers" on cartridge body

I checked my stylus/cartridge yesterday, the stylus looked great. However, I noticed metal "whiskers" attached to the front of the cartridge body (an ESCCO modified Zu Denon 103R).

I have no idea where these came from, the cartridge is always stored in a clean wooden box, by itself, when not in use.

Is a there a safe way to remove them? They don't seem inclined to go anywhere, but I'd rather they not be there.

I welcome your thoughts.

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan
do you clean the tip with say Clearaudio tip cleaner or Oznow? I would use air can to blow these off ...but please be careful! sometimes I had some black residue also on the body and the "ribber" seal which I got out with tiny painters brush...but again be careful as these things are very delicate...
The metal is attracted by the strong magnets in the cartridge. As to how they get there, it beats me. Since record pressing is a purely mechanical process not carried out in a clean-room, it's possible there's always a bit of metal residue from the plant floating around in the inner sleeve, jacket, etc... I usually brush them off gently using a small artist's paintbrush.
Hi Dan - my "guess" is they came from possibly your (modded?) cartridge itself, and what is floating around in your room. Have you been soldering around your gear again? :^)

When I had a Benz Micro MC3 retipped by Soundsmith I inquired into getting the nude version done. They advised against this due to the floating metallic (debris) environment that a cartridge lives in.

I've seen these on quite a few cartridges. It's not clear to me that such "whiskers" are actually metal, though their orientations certainly appear to result from the magnet field of the cartridge.

A research project with spectroscopic analysis is clearly in order. Any takers?