Lead content dangerous to children, wash hands immediately
A U.S., study has revealed 54% of the holiday lights tested contained more lead than allowed by regulators in children’s products. Some of the light strands have been discovered to contain greater than thirty times the allowed amount.
HealthyStuff.org, a product information website, a product information website has posted the findings today on their site which can be reviewed online. They are urging consumers to wash hands after handling their holiday lights.
Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center, stated “the last thing families want to worry about during the holiday is whether they are exposing their children to toxic chemicals by decorating their tree.”
The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission imposes a standard of 300 parts per million for lead in all children’s products. In California, that is the level in which the state demands warning labels for lead in children’s products. The CPSC’s limit is expected to drop the amounts down by 100 parts per million next year.
According to Gearhart, among the lights tested they would be considered illegal under the European Union limits of 1,000 parts per million for lead in electronics.
Lead a usual element in vinyl, which is used to coat light wiring and bulb sockets. Some manufactures such as IKEA, a Swedish furniture chain, markets products that are in compliance with European standards.
The largest dangers in holiday lights are electrical shocks and fire due to undersized wiring or cracked bulbs among the lights according to Scott Wolfson, CPCS spokesperson which he had mentioned in an email. Consumers should make sure that the lights have an independent testing label and have not been recalled.
Wolfson comments that holiday lights are not a product for children and the CPCS is suggesting to parents not to let children handle or play with the holiday lights.
HealthyStuff.org states that thirty-seven of the lights out of the sixty-eight which were tested had contained greater than 300 per million parts of lead contained in the vinyl covered cables or light bulb sockets. Strands of light which come from Home Depot Inc. and General Electric Inc., had tested positive for lead in amounts over the California standard.
Light sets with light bases had contained greater than 450 parts per million which had included two sets sold at Home Depot, under the Home Accents Holiday and Martha Stewart labels.
Seven strands of lights that had been tested contained over 10,000 parts per million or thirty times the United States children’s product levels.
Spokesperson David Schuellerman had stated in a email that minute amounts of lead stabilized cord casing and make sure they are heat resistant. Tests conducted by a GE licensee, Santa’s Best Craft, Ltd., have shown that all of the companies 2010 holiday lights are “far below” the allowed government standards for lead levels. We do not believe these products pose a vital risk to consumers.
Spokesperson Jean Niemi, for Home Depot, has not issued any response to the holiday lights.
Clark Silcox, counsel at the National Electric Manufacture’s Association states the industry had negotiated with officials in California to decide what electrical cords would have a warning label. He further went on to note that cords are not usually handled a lot, such as plugs for televisions in which do not require the labeling.
Silcox, notes its is an resolved conflict which remains unsolved whether anyone has been exposed to lead. The Arlington, Virginia based group represents wire and cable makers along with manufactures such as General Electric, Siemens AG, and Koninklijke Phillips Electronics NV
Congress had established stricter lead paint and lead content limits contained in children’s products. Three years later manufacturers are taking taking the necessary steps against toxic chemicals.
This year in June, had seen the McDonald’s, Corporation, offering a $3.00 refund to those customers who had purchased drinking glasses after cadmium ( which is used in industry as a by product of zinc, and copper refining. It was used for the illustrations from the movie”Shrek Forever After” on the glasses. September had also seen Wegmans Food Markets Inc., (chain owner of supermarkets in the East Coast) replace their reusable shopping bags after a consumers group had discovered high amounts of lead.
The CPCS has the authorization to declare recalls and ask the manufacture’s to make changes if there is a determination of risk present for lead poisoning from sources other than lead paint. They have exercised their authority with vinyl mini blinds, crayons, figurines which were used as game pieces and in children’s jewelry according to their website.
CPSC in 1996 had required the window covering industry to halt the production of vinyl mini blinds due to research showing that the lead dust could gather as the material degraded.
The state of California does demand warning labels to be put on Christmas lights, note them as products which possibly could be toxic and cause birth defects.
Research as discovered that some lead may come to the surface and stick to the skin. If handling lights without gloves on it is the wisest idea to wash hands thoroughly after handling the lights. Long term exposure to even low amounts of lead does increase the risk of kidney damage and nervous system, development effects in children and cancer.
Long term effects of lead in children
The effects in children from long term exposure can include learning disabilities, growth decrease, hyperactivity, impaired hearing and even brain damage. If caught early on these effects may be limited by decreasing exposure to lead and medical treatment.
If you are pregnant avoid exposure. Lead has the ability to pass through the body and into the baby.
Protection for the family
Have your child tested. Even though your child may look healthy they can still have high levels of lead. There is no way to tell if they have lead poisoning unless tested. Blood tests take ten minutes and results come back within a week.
Blood tests are normally recommended for:
Children aged one and two.
Children and other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead.
Suggestions for testing under your state and local screening plan.
For more information on lead poisoning information is available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.
Michigan Department of Community Health notes the following for lead poisoning testing for children:
Many children have blood lead tests as part of their regular care by a doctor or clinic. These tests are important for children who live or spend time in older houses which may have lead paint.
Children should be tested for lead poisoning at one and two years of age or more often depending on their contact with sources of lead.
In Detroit the Lead Poisoning and Prevent Program offers lead testing for families with children under the age of six years old.
Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Information is available on the City of Detroit Official Website.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
State Of Michigan