Here’s good reason not to leave those holiday lights up until spring. A new study in the December issue of the Journal of Environmental Health reveals many types of Christmas lights contain dangerous levels of lead. The plastic coating on the cord sheds lead dust, especially when exposed to sunlight. Although scientists believe the risk is negligible, they are quick to point out, that no amount of lead is safe for children; Discovery News investigates.
And last year, a New Jersey-based research center tested 4 varieties of holiday lights and determined brands like Wal-Mart, GE, Sylvania and Philips, all had lead levels above the 15 microgram limit set by Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, some Philips test samples came back as low as 3.2 micrograms, but Wal-Mart brand lights clocked in as high as 132.7 micrograms of lead. Eek!
Lead lurks in a lot of places. Recently, it was discovered that 1 in 3 toys contain lead. And other things, like fishing tackle, sports turf and garden hoses, also pose a lead risk. To make matter worse, lead exposure has been linked anti-social behavior and criminal acts.
So, for next year, I found these 90% energy-efficient LED lights, the manufacturer claims they’re lead-free, with the exception of the cord; via the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition.