NANUET, NY – Just in time for the holiday season, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) today announced consumer protection legislation that warns parents of the potential dangers associated with artificial Christmas trees. Senate bill (S1644) sponsored by the Senator would require that a warning label be attached to any holiday decorations containing lead that are sold in New York State.
“The dangers associated with lead contamination, particularly with young children, warrant a consumer protection clause for these types of products,” said Senator Carlucci. “A warning label is just common sense. Giving parents the tools and information they need is absolutely critical, allowing them to choose whether or not they should possess artificial Christmas trees in their own homes.”
The Senate bill would:
- Require that a warning label list all hazardous chemicals and any precautionary measures that should be taken before handling a tree.
- Indicate that the responsibility lie with the store selling the product so as to make sure every box has this label.
- Include financial penalties for any person, firm, corporation or association who violates the requirement, subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.
- Would require this warning label to be on products containing paint or other similar surface-coating material, or is made of any plastic material.
Many New Yorkers are unaware that artificial Christmas trees contain lead and other hazardous products. In fact, most artificial trees are made of metals and plastics. The plastic material, typically PVC (polyvinyl chloride), can be a potential source of hazardous lead, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
The U.S. Department of Commerce says that 85% of artificial Christmas trees in the United States are manufactured from China Federal officials and regulators have questioned its safety and reliability.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead is more dangerous to children because they often put their hands and other objects in their mouths and their bodies’ absorb more lead, leading their brains and nervous system to be more sensitive to the damaging effects.
Similar legislation exists in other states as well.
Under Proposition 65 in California, artificial Christmas trees made in China are required to carry a warning label.