Bill to get lead warning label on seasonal lights passes legislature

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- A bill requiring a warning label on seasonal and decorative lighting passed in the state legislature Tuesday. If signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, seasonal and decorative lighting with lead in them must have a warning label.

Lead is sometimes present in the electrical cord casing of seasonal lights, according to co-sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. She said the legislation will protect people who like to decorate on the holidays.

“Federal law bans the sale and manufacture of lead in house paint and gasoline and New York enacts stringent limits only on paint on children’s toys and furniture and some glazed tableware.  Other consumer products have not been as strictly regulated,” said Assemblywoman Galef. 

“Decorating for the holidays should never put your family’s health at risk, but some holiday lights contain unsafe levels of lead that could expose children and families to this dangerous substance. This legislation will keep New Yorkers safe from lead contamination in the home by requiring holiday lights that contain dangerous levels of lead to include a warning label urging people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling,” said the other co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

The lead present in the electrical cords of seasonal lights is applied as a flame retardant and to keep the plastic from cracking. The law would warn consumers of the potential of lead exposure and instruct consumers to wash their hands after handling them.

Assemblywoman Galef said several studies have shown lead in some lighting to be 30 times the level allowed in children’s products. Lead exposure can cause health issues like heart and kidney disease, depression, and affect fertility.

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