Christmas Lights Shed Lead

Ah Christmas, a time to gather the family together, drink hot chocolate and decorate your beautiful tree. Many of my fondest holiday memories include helping dad staple-gun Christmas lights to the outside of our home, "One goes out, they all go out!"

Unfortunately, you might want to shy away from including children and the elderly in these activities in the future. CNN has uncovered a disappointing fact about Christmas lights, they contain a potentially lethal level of lead. This isn't the first time I've told you about lead hiding in our holiday decorations. See the Fake Tree vs. Real Tree discussion HERE. What is so insidious about this new discovery is that it means you can't buy unleaded fake trees or lights.

Like in fake Christmas trees, manufacturers use lead to stabilize the PVC chemical they use to build Christmas lights. The scientific analysis done by CNN was completed at Quantex Laboratories and uncovered lead levels on the lights that even surprised Dr. Leo Trasande of New York's Sinai School of Medicine.

"There is no level at which lead exposure is safe," Dr. Trasande said. "Even at one microgram/deciliter -- the lowest level in a person's blood stream that we can detect -- that level has been associated with cognitive impairment in children."

Often, children will help put up the Christmas tree and will then put their hands in their mouths, instantly carrying lead to their bloodstream and organs. Of the four brands tested, Wal-Mart's showed the highest concentration of surface lead.

Unfortunately, the level of lead on these lights is totally legal because the US government, through the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has not created rules that forbid such lead concentrations. If you want your kids to help with the decorations this year (and why wouldn't you?) make sure they only hang ornaments, wear gloves, and wash their hands.

For the full CNN story go HERE.

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