Warning: Dangers in Christmas ornaments

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by LiAna Gonzales

Video report by Gary Harper

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 10:22 AM

PHOENIX -- They’re pretty, they’re sparkly, and they're everything that’s appealing to young kids. But they also could be dangerous! We’re talking about Christmas ornaments. They should bring holiday cheer. But for some, they are bringing holiday fear.

3 On Your Side recently discovered some glittery ornaments for sale inside a Valley store, all within a child's reach.  But in very small print, on a tiny label, we found a big warning.

It reads: “The exterior decoration used on this product contains lead or other chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.  Wash hands after handling to minimize exposure.”

"Why would this be anywhere near a child? That would be my question,” says Valley mom Laura Passmore.

"I'm just surprised that we're buying products that we're not even aware of what's in there,” says another Valley mom Janet Jorgensen.

Just like these valley parents, Dr. Steve Sabatier, an expert in environmental studies, worries about lead exposure.

"Already we have research evidence that in children, a higher concentration of lead in their blood stream has been correlated with hyper-activity disorder, memory and mood disorders, cognitive disorders," he says.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission: "Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.”

Regarding these Christmas ornaments, the C-P-S-C told us: "Christmas ornaments are not considered children's products and are not subject to the same stringent lead requirements." 

But Sabatier and Valley moms remain concerned.

"In my opinion, with children, I think these are very attractive to children. I think children of certain ages are going to be inclined to stick these in their mouth, and lick it. But even just rubbing these things, you can get lead dust and that can transfer all over your home,” says Sabatier.

"Babies are so oral or toddlers even, they taste everything, they touch everything. It's pretty, it's a good size and their gonna stick it in their mouth,” says Passmore.

And because we know kids aren't going to stop being curious, Sabatier and moms offered some suggestions.

"While we're waiting for, let's say, some legislative support to protect the whole community proactively, I would educate my customers, my patients to avoid these as much as possible," says Sabatier. 

"I'd want to see those ornaments raised up and maybe on a higher shelf that kids couldn't access," all moms agree.

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