North Country parents warned about lead in Christmas lights
Friday, December 6, 2013 - 11:40 am

CANTON -- Parents are warned to use caution with hidden dangers associated with Christmas lights containing lead.

“Lead is in the PVC jacketing that connects Christmas lights to each other, because of this, strings of Christmas lights should be handled carefully,” says Joseph Laquatra, Cornell University professor of design and environmental analysis.

According to Laquatra a very small amount of lead can cause serious health problems, especially in children, thus it is important that children not handle them.

Adults should immediately and thoroughly wash their hands after handling lights.

“An additional concern is degradation of Christmas light strings that are installed outdoors as exposure to sunlight can result in lead being released from the strings and then contaminating soil,” Laquatra said.

Laquatra says lead can enter the human body through skin contact, ingestion and inhalation with even very small amounts of lead causing serious health problems, especially in children.