It is almost impossible to imagine the holidays without decorations. However, every year thousands of people nationwide, including here in Tennessee, end up in emergency rooms due to injuries caused by holiday decorations. Although some injuries result from people not being mindful of the potential dangers, unsafe or defective products may be to blame for some injuries.
Some of the dangers are hidden in products that are regularly used to spruce up homes at these jolly times. One of those is spray-on “snow” foam that contains methylene chloride as is in most aerosol paints. Artificial trees, made with PVC, may avoid the need to clean up discarded pine needles and are easier to dispose of, but they are treated with fire resistant chemicals that sometimes include hazardous metals, like lead, that are regarded as dangerous by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Volatile gas compounds that can irritate lungs, noses and eyes are released by PVC, especially when artificial trees are first exposed to air.
Another lead-containing hazard is strings of lights on which the PVC coated wiring can pose a danger — especially to children — and washing your hands after handling it is not enough to remove the danger. Some decorations have small parts that may pose a choking risk if left within reach of children. Most people don’t realize that gift wrap that is not manufactured in the United States may also contain higher levels of toxic metals, including lead.
While most of the risks can be avoided, unknown dangers may adversely affect the health of Tennessee residents. Those whose loved ones have suffered injuries caused by defective products during this year’s holiday season may consider filing claims against the manufacturers and retailers. However, a consultation with an experienced product liability attorney may help to determine whether a viable claim exists. A lawyer can also provide guidance throughout the navigation of any legal proceedings that may follow.
Source: cheatsheet.com, “Are Your Holiday Decorations a Health Risk?“, Nikelle Murphy, Dec. 14, 2015