During Christmas time, people tend to be more trusting, and are not as vigilant about protecting their health as they are throughout the year. Yet, there are elevated poisoning risks during Christmas. One of the biggest health threats at Christmas is lead. Lead is present in the cabling of Christmas lights, and in the solder of artificial Christmas trees.
American shoppers may notice this warning on Christmas light packages:
"Handling the coated electrical wire on this product exposes you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use."
The lead inside Christmas light insulation is used to stabilize the polyvinyl chloride (PVC plastic) around the wires. Without lead, the PVC would crack and crumble with age. Lead is also a fire retardant for the PVC, because PVC is a fire hazard. Manufacturers employ a flammable plastic with a poisonous metal added to it, in order to reduce its flammability, instead of using a superior material. Slightly less flexible Christmas lights would be a welcome change to lead-free lights, which would also be much less likely to burn-down houses at Christmas.
There are safer fire retardants than lead, including calcium and zinc. These are not used because they are more expensive. The justification that these companies are acting on behalf of their customer's well-being is thus patently dishonest. It betrays the relentlessly unethical behavior of most modern companies.
When Walmart corporation was questioned in 2007 about their lead-laden lights, Walmart cited the following in its official press release:
"It is our understanding that the manufacturers' use of lead in these products is to improve the safety of the lights. We are told that the use of lead is required by Underwriters Laboratory, an organization that certifies the safety of lighting products in the United States. The amount of lead used is a tiny amount and does not exceed any applicable federal guidelines. Our holiday lights meet industry standards and are compliant with state and federal regulations governing their sale."
We have been assured that only safe levels of lead are present in the cords, but lead is bio-accumulative. It builds up in the liver, and the body cannot normally excrete it. So, there is no safe level, because such a figure would have to be based upon previous exposure. C.N.N. hired a laboratory to conduct a study evaluating lead safety. That study proves that even those supposedly safe levels can significantly lower the I.Q., and another study by Michigan State University proved that lead in the blood is a contributing factor to attention deficit disorder.
"Even at one microgram/deciliter - the lowest level in a person's blood stream that we can detect - that level has been associated with cognitive impairment in children."
-- Dr. Leo Trasande, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
According to the double-standards set by regulators, the "safe level" of lead in Christmas lights is higher than what would be considered safe in children's toys. A study by the independent testing organization, Quantez Laboratories, revealed that surface levels of lead on Christmas lights were far higher than the Consumer Product Safety Commission's recommended limit of 15 micrograms for children. In fact, Walmart brand lights from China were the highest in surface lead. They had levels ranging from 86.6 to 132.7 micrograms.
The Poisonous Chinese Onslaught
Toys that are made in China often contain lead, alongside other poisonous chemicals such as BPA and cadmium. Lead-laced toys are illegal in the United States, but they can be found at almost every U.S. retailer. Lead toys from China suddenly began appearing during the Christmas season of 2007. This sudden inclusion just before Christmas indicates that the poisonings were intentional, so it is recommended that readers choose only toys which have been made elsewhere. This may require extra effort by parents, such as finding gifts online. Lead typically appears in Chinese-made toys at Christmas time, when sales would be the highest. Lead likewise always appears in Chinese-made lunch boxes at the beginning of every school year. Such coincidences simply do not occur. In more honorable times, this would have been considered an act of war, and the poisoned items would have been immediately removed from retail shelves. Most Americans were either not told about, or were distracted away from the anti-freeze that the Chinese were adding to toothpastes that were for sale in the United States. The Chinese told U.S. regulators that the anti-freeze was a "sweetener". They were also caught adding the pesticide melamine to 90% of U.S. infant formulas in 2008, which the F.D.A. subsequently helped the food industry cover-up. They claimed that the pesticide was added to artificially increase the protein content of deficient infant formulas, which was their attempt at a justification.
Cadmium is a new poisonous material that is appearing in toys from China. Cadmium is used as a method of continuing the poisoning, despite more aggressive lead testing. Cadmium levels are not tested, or even regulated, despite it being even more dangerous. It is especially difficult to chelate cadmium out of the body. The addition of cadmium establishes that these behaviors are part of an official agenda, because unlike lead and its ability to improve plastics and paints, there is no legitimate reason to include it.
One of the most dangerous attributes of lead is that it absorbs through the skin. Just touching Christmas lights or artificial trees is therefore enough for it to enter into a body. The risk increases for young children who put their hands into their mouths. Those who use lead-laced Christmas lights should wear waterproof gloves when handling the lights, then discard the gloves. Always keep children away from these lights, and from artificial trees. In light of what has been happening, we have a moral and patriotic duty to not buy from the Chinese, or companies that betrayed us by relocating operations to China.