A recent study by Michigan-based nonprofit the Ecology Center, found hazardous chemicals in more than two-thirds of holiday products tested, such as Beaded Garland from Lowe's and Santa Hanging decor from Walgreens. The study examined 69 holiday products purchased last month from major retailers including CVS, Dollar Tree, Kroger, Target and Walmart, among others.
Products were tested for substances with known links to asthma, birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, liver toxicity and reproductive problems, according to a press release.
"We've been testing and finding similar problems with these products since 2012," Jeff Gearhart, principle researcher for the Ecology Center, said. "Most retailers have been slow to react and continue to sell these products."
In this year's examined products, 12 percent contained levels of bromine, mostly in the form of flame retardants. However, the product with the highest toxicity levels was Beaded Garland, which contained various hazardous chemical compounds. The findings of chemicals in beaded garland were similar to those of last year's study's results. Additionally, strings of lights contained high levels of lead and bromine, also similar to previous studies' findings.
This year's study is a continuation of previous years and is part of a larger movement called the Mind the Store Campaign. The campaign is comprised of environmental and health advocates who challenge the nation's largest retailers to establish health and safety standards by removing toxic hazards from products.
"Parents shouldn't have to worry that their holiday decorations may contain toxic chemicals," Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign director for Safer Chemicals, said. "Big retailers should get these hidden hazards out of holiday decorations, once and for all. Parents expect their favorite retailers to mind the store."