Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Artificial Christmas Trees: How Real Are the Lead Exposure Risks?

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Artificial Christmas Trees: How Real Are the Lead Exposure Risks?

Article excerpt

* Blood lead levels as low as 2.5 micrograms per deciliter ([micro]g/dL) were recently found to be associated with reductions in cognitive performance in children.

* Other studies have connected lead exposure with behavioral and emotional problems, such as aggressive or anxious behavior.

* Lead may also affect the growth of children; decreases in height, head circumference, and chest circumference have been documented.

* Thus, lead-containing products with even moderate potential to cause human exposure may have public health significance.

* Products made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic often contain relatively large amounts of lead added as stabilizers.

* In 1995, it was discovered that imported vinyl mini-blinds contained lead.

* In 1997 it was found that high levels of lead accumulated on the surfaces of several commonly used children's products after exposure to sunlight.

* These products included

-- PVC raincoats,

-- book bags, and

-- beach bags.

* Artificial Christmas trees made of PVC have become very common in the United States.

* An estimated 50 million households use them.

* In nearly 20 million of these households, the trees are nine years old or older. …

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