Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deck the Halls with PVC and Lead?

Last year there was a lot of information out about artificial Christmas trees being made of PVC, and I knew that the light strings that you decorate with are full of PVC, too, but lead? It's true. According to my trusted source, Safe Mama, there aren't any brands that don't have PVC in the wiring, but you can choose brands that do not use lead. Why worry about lead in the wires? "Lead doesn’t like to stay bound in the PVC cord casing, so it sloughs off and ends up on hands and in little mouths. So if you’re unable to invest in RoHS lights this year, just be careful to keep Christmas lights out of reach of your little ones and use gloves while decorating your tree – especially if you’re pregnant. Also keeping dust around the tree cleaned up and off of presents will go a long way in protecting your family."

According to Safe Mama "Lead-safe lights can be found on rare occasions here in the U.S. We learned that you need to look for RoHS compliant products and that’s REALLY difficult. Most RoHS compliant lights are also LED which is great, but more expensive. RoHS compliance is important because it also certifies that products have safe levels of mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). The maximum permitted concentrations are 0.1% or 1000 ppm (except for cadmium, which is limited to 0.01% or 100 ppm) by weight of homogeneous material. We turned up only one source here in the U.S. and that was Environmental Lights. They were very helpful in confirming which lights are RoHS compliant and explained that it’s a long and difficult process, so they’re still working through many of the products on their site:
Commercial Strings that begin with the letter “C” (84 products at the moment)
Retail Strings, Icicle lights and Nets (about 177 products at the moment)"

What's the safest thing to do? Go back to the simpler days... take the family out and pick a real tree, decorate with handmade ornaments, and spend a night stringing the popcorn! Besides being less "toxic" it will provide special memories for you and your family!

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