Oneupweb : Pretty, Bright and Hazardous

Well the holiday season is fast approaching. Many businesses and people have already decked out their stores and homes with their holiday decorations. All of the trees with their pretty colorful ornaments, glittery tinsel, ribbons and those glistening, sparkly lights; oh it just wouldn’t seem like a Christmas tree without those glistening, sparkly lights.

Those glistening, sparkly lights, which are hazardous to the health of both you and your family.

Who knew? It was brought up in conversation as I was explaining how I spent an hour checking my lights, then stringing them on a tree outside, then plugging them in and seeing that the whole top half didn’t work. Then my co-worker mentioned that the lights were actually not very safe, as they have high levels of lead in them. I was very surprised that I hadn’t heard of that before.

So, I got online and started looking into it, and sure enough they may be very pretty, but they should have warning labels attached to them to make sure they are handled safely. I found the SymptomFind.com to be a very helpful resource.

Dangers of Lead Exposure

Here are some of the common and serious threats of lead poisoning:

  • Increased risk of fatal heart attack or stroke
  • Weaker bones
  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure (caused by higher blood lead levels) that can lead to kidney problems in postmenopausal women
  • Brain damage

How can you be exposed to lead poisoning by Christmas lights? Just by handling the lights themselves…even just the wiring (PVC used in the wiring to prevent fires contains the lead). And wearing gloves while stringing lights doesn’t completely prevent the lead dangers, because  the PVC has lead-based dust that can be airborne.

The lead from the lights is most harmful to the health of children and pregnant women.

Prevention

Here are a few steps to take to minimize your lead exposure:

  • Wash your hands after handling lights (even those built into an artificial tree)
  • Keep children away from the lights
  • Avoid placing gifts underneath the tree (lead particles from the PVC can fall on them)
  • Display tree away from sunlight and heat vents to prevent dust particles from forming and spreading
  • Buy lights made in the U.S., because foreign lights contain more lead due to not closely monitoring lead levels in consumer products
  • When handling lights wear gloves (and like mentioned above, wash your hands afterward)

It’s puzzling to me why this isn’t more widely known. I asked around to see if others were aware of it, and everyone that I spoke with said no. Being that it could have such a health risk, I would think it should be noted on the packaging somehow, and suggest what type of precautions should be taken into consideration.

It just goes to show, just because things look pretty, doesn’t mean they’re harmless. And like Oneupweb always says, pretty doesn’t cut it when it comes to website design—it’s all about the overall user experience.

So while you decorate your home this year, you might want to take a few precautions to make sure you and your family stays safe, and be sure to enjoy the holidays!