Get Yo' Green On Tuesdays - Dangers of Christmas Lights, Garden Lights and Mini-Light Toxins - A Christmas Light Product Warning
Posted Dec 20 2008 7:20pm
Get ready to be shocked: holiday lighting, is poisonous! Every year my children and I decorate our tree with holiday lights - so do millions of children and parents around the world. Did you know that these lights are filled with lead and that by handling them, your family is exposed to lead? Nope? Neither did I.
Like other holiday revelers, I decorate my tree from lights I have had for over twenty years - before the day when holiday lights had warnings on the boxes. Typically, I buy the lights, then recycle the boxes once the lights are up. When it is time to take the lights down, I store the strands wrapped in rubberbands to keep them from knotting together until we do it all over again the next year. Imagine my surprise when I finally bought new lights this season and examined the box carefully. There were multiple warnings on the back of the box stating that the light strands contained lead in a significant amount.
This year, the holiday lights I purchased came from Target and are the Philips Multi-Heavy-Duty Mini-Light Set. After I purchased them I read the box, saw the warnings, and returned the lights to the store. Guess what? After searching all of Target, Walmart, and many other retail outlets I could not find a single light set without a lead content. None. Nada. Zip.
It is particularly important to be cautious with products which have a lead content. Lead is poison to our children and many people are concerned about the toxic level of chemicals in our household. Millions of holiday lights are put up every year BY CHILDREN. My concern is not to stop using these lights, but to educate on the proper way to put the lights up so less people in our community are exposed to toxins.
When I discovered most mini-light sets have lead, I decided to use common sense and assume that all the lights I have - the older sets particularly - have lead content also. Keeping the Philips Multi-Heavy-Duty Mini-Light Set, I used surgical nitrile exam gloves which I use when gardening to install the lights. Afterward I threw the gloves out and washed my hands well. For safety's sake - teach your family and friends about this danger - use gloves when installing all your holiday lights and wash well after the installation is complete.