We all know lead is toxic, which is why it's not allowed in paint and children's toys because of the associated health risks. But were you aware that many other products are allowed to contain lead, and companies don't even need to label them unless the metal exceeds a given amount? Scary thought, right? And one that might have you wondering which of the seemingly harmless items in your house is actually carrying a secret load of poison.
Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr.</span>
Take Christmas lights, for example, many of which have lead added to the the PVC coating that covers their wires to increase flexibility and prevent cracking. This practice isn't limited to Christmas lights, actually: other lighting cords and fixtures may also have lead in their cords, and unless it's above a certain amount, the manufacturer is not required to disclose this. How can you avoid it? By purchasing products specifically labeled as lead-free, which are thankfully available from some manufacturers.
Similarly, PVC products like hoses, rain jackets, boots, shower curtains, and some miniblinds can also contain lead. Unless a product specifically states that it does not contain lead, you don't have an assurance that it's safe. Make sure that lead-free products are third-party certified, too, to ensure accountability and confirm that they really are completely free of lead.
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