Beware Lead-Laden Christmas Decorations

Consumers are getting a shock as they stock up on holiday supplies: it’s not just Christmas cheer they’re spreading, but lead. The back of many decorations are sporting this label:

“Handling the plastic used in this product exposes you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use.”

The label is required on any product sold in California with enough lead or toxic ingredients to cause cancer or birth defects. Since it’s cheaper just to print the label on all the products, residents in other states are seeing the label as well.

Guess the kids won’t be helping hang the trimmings this year. And if they do, spend some quality family time in a group hand washing.

Deck the halls with … poison? [St. Petersburg Times] (Thanks to Therese!)
(Photo: ZekeDMS)

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  1. Starfury says:

    I’m thinking that rubber glove sales are going to increase…have to get them to put up the decorations, handle your Wal-Mart plates at dinner, and then for the kids to wear when playing with all their lead toys.

  2. Red_Eye says:

    I was living in California when this labeling law (proposition 65 [prop65clearinghouse.com] )passed. It was incredible the sheer amount of things that wound up with this label. It initially feels like you are walking through a mine field, then you become desensitized to it. Just about 70% of anything not a food item and with over 1sq foot surface area appears to have the labels.

  3. smitty1123 says:

    I’m not that worried, since I only eat my Halloween decorations…

  4. Skiffer says:

    @Red_Eye: Thank you! I once made the argument, “What’s the point of California labeling EVERYTHING as causing cancer – don’t people just get desensitized to it?”

  5. DrGirlfriend says:

    2007: The Year o’ Lead

  6. yasth says:

    Lead in some types of PVC cord coating(which is generally where this comes up) is a complicated issue. More or less a bit needs to be there or the health risks are worse (the plastic covering doesn’t stay on the cord, which aside from the micro particle effects of that, can mean bare live wire)

    Just wash your hands, it is a quite small amount. It has always been there (and in greater amounts)

  7. slowinthefastlane says:

    I would worry less about the stuff that you’re buying today and more about the stuff that was handed down to you by your mom or grandma. Tinsel used to have an incredible amount of lead in it – same with many of your “heirloom” ornaments. It also always amazes me how folks will string a 30+ year-old set of lights across a dry, dead tree.

  8. I *heart* the state of California. They give me soooooo much more information on product safety than my own state regs (or federal regs), but most companies don’t spend to label twice.

  9. Electroqueen says:

    Lead a chemical? It’s a freakin’ element! And there are a lot of other chemicals that cause birth defects and cancer…

  10. AD8BC says:

    Stupid California.

    Anything can kill you if used wrong.

  11. iamme99 says:

    ***WARNING***
    Being born will lead to eventual death

  12. girly says:

    Wow, you’d expect lead to be one of the top 10 most common naturally occurring elements in the Earth, but it isn’t.

    Makes me think more effort in the world is being expended putting lead into things than making sure it isn’t in things.

    Most any power cord has lead, right? So therefore Christmas lights?

  13. MYarms says:

    I liked everything much better when nobody cared about all this lead.

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  15. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Someone else made the point on here the other day that we have probably been importing these items for the past 50 years. In fact, Im sure it was worse (as far as lead content)before there were the flimsy regulations that are in place now! We are more aware of it now that testing measures are more acurate and available.

    I cant help but wonder to what degree this is all just a new round of alarmist media BS. A hot new story to jump on… Im not downplaying the issue of lead poisoning, but it seems like some of the items have a lead content that is far below what is considered hazardous, but people are just “on the lead bandwagon” and looking for something to make a big deal out of. But I could be wrong…