Toxic Holiday Decoration

    Published: November 29, 2016

    Toxic Holiday Decorations to Stay Away From This Season

    Standard holiday decorations are staples in most homes. Where’s the Christmas spirit without a tree, a wreath, stockings by the fire, and tons of lights? However, it’s best to do your research before pulling that dusty box of decorations out of the attic. Many mainstays of holiday cheer are made with toxic chemicals.

    In order to protect your family and pets from any unsafe chemicals we’ve compiled the most common culprits all in one place. These are the top decorations to be wary of during the holiday season.

    Toxic Holiday Decoration

    Christmas Lights

    Ordinary strings of Christmas lights follow the same pattern as artificial trees. The wire covering found in most light strands used in tree decoration is made with PVC. On top of that, a layer of lead is applied to most lights as a flame retardant.

    A study conducted on several brands of Christmas lights in 2008 found lead levels on every brand that exceeded the standards for windowsills and floors set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Lead levels like those found in your strands of lights are known to cause neurological disorders in children. Purchase lead-free lights with labels that read “RoHS-compliant.”

    Scented Candles

    One of the best ways to make your house truly smell like the holidays is to invest in a scented candle. However, most store bought scented candles are made with paraffin wax, which creates toluene and benzene when burned. These chemicals, which are released into the closed quarters of your home, are known carcinogens.

    In addition, the government protects the list of the actual ingredients that comprise a company’s scents as trade secrets, meaning you’ll truly never know exactly what is being emitted into your air. Instead of candles, try setting a bundle of cloves or cinnamon around the house for a smell that’s actually natural.

    Beaded Garlands

    These seemingly innocuous holiday decorations seem like the perfect way to add a touch of spirit to a tree or railing. Frighteningly, beaded products like holiday garlands and Mardi Gras beads are often composed of old plastic waste. While recycling seems eco-friendly, this plastic can be loaded with lead and toxic flame-retardants.

    Again, natural and organic decorations are always the safer choice. Stick to ribbons and homemade fabrics and items to avoid the potential hazards lurking in store bought decorations. Over 70 percent beaded garlands tested by HealthyStuff.org contained toxic levels of bromine. Plastic decorations can pose a hazard for small children who may be tempted to put small objects in their mouth.

    Toxic chemicals aren’t simply found in seasonal items – some of the most harmful contaminants can be found year round in your drinking water. Protect your home from a wide variety of potential harmful chemicals by installing a whole house carbon filter that delivers purer, fresher drinking water right from your tap.