Health Hazard Lurks in Holiday Lighting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/26/07

Health Hazard Lurks in Holiday Lighting

The biggest hazard we usually face when it comes to Christmas lights is the stress of untangling them. But who knew there could be a much bigger problem to worry about, lead poisoning?

"Most cords, not just light cords but any appliance cord that they need to keep color in and need to keep pliable has the potential to have lead in it," said Russ Plowman, owner of Garden Works.

Russ spends much of the holiday season putting up strands of lights. He says the warning on the back of many light boxes is there for a reason.

"You really do have to watch all the warnings put on cords, appliances and boxes," Russ added.

The warning reads:

Handling the coated electrical wires of this product could expose you to lead, a chemical known to The State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use.

"California is the only state that requires the lead markings so if they don't sell something in California they don't have to mark it," said Russ.

Because of that warning, Russ has his employees wear gloves and wash their hands after handling lights.

"As long as they're wearing a good quality glove and as long as they wash their hands afterwards, then they should be fine," said Russ.

And Russ has these words of advice for all parents or anybody decorating for the holidays.

"Wear gloves always. Wash your hands. And if you notice your cords are getting brittle and old replace them," he said.

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