Vintage Ornaments Can Contain Lead Paint


Earlier this month, lead prevention advocates warned about the dangers of potential lead paint in vintage glass Christmas ornaments.

“Ornaments are not toys, I can’t say that enough, because ornaments are not regulated,” Tamara Rubin owner of Lead Safe Mama, told local Nashville news station WSMV4. “What you’re trying to do by making sure people have safer Christmas ornaments is you’re trying to prevent incidental trace exposure that will be part of their cumulative lifetime exposure.”

Rubin is a lead prevention advocate who routinely tests items for lead and works to educate parents about its harmful effects, WSMV4 explains. She advises that vintage glass ornaments should be placed at the top of the Christmas tree or hung from a string out of the reach of children.

According to the National Capital Poison Center’s Poison Control, some ornaments can contain lead, mercury or methylene chloride, which can poison children if they touch, taste or swallow them. They add that lead paint is a concern with imported ornaments and very old ornaments.

“There’s this huge movement toward vintage nostalgia, and vintage ornaments are nearly always incredibly toxic ornaments,” Rubin said. “So you really have to be careful, especially around children, not to use vintage ornaments because they can be painted with lead paint at a very high level of lead.”

Poison Control says that tree decorators can use at-home lead detection kits that will change color if lead is present. While not 100% accurate, they note, it could provide some peace of mind about having a blood lead level measured if ingested.

Poison Control can also help determine if and when someone needs to have a blood lead test.

Other Christmas Paint News

Last year during the holidays, a woman traveling through northeastern wine country near Naples, New York concocted a story regarding purple Christmas trees she’d discovered amongst other traditional varieties.

In devising a story as to why the trees were turning purple, the woman shared her story on social media explaining that a special snail native to Naples would ingest the tannins from grapes that had fallen to the ground and then excrete the byproduct into the ground.

As a result of the ground’s absorption, leeches would transform into tree roots, which then resulted in the otherwise green and blueish pines turning purple in color. 

David Hanggi, Co-Owner of the family Christmas tree farm the woman had passed, said the story quickly went viral and brought in a lot of business.

According to reports, Hanggi first got the idea after he and his wife Celeste attended a summer convention of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. There, a tree had been coated with a non-toxic, food grade paint because the tree was “off-color.” While this experiment was meant to make the green trees greener, Celeste saw it as an opportunity to spotlight Naples’s grape and wine country during the holiday season.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Materials - Commercial; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; Lead; Lead; Lead test kits; North America; Paint; Z-Continents

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