Glass blue ball Christmas ornament.
Dated: December 20, 2003.
(This was a wedding favor at a Christmas wedding that my friend went to.)
When tested with an XRF instrument this ornament had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 748 +/- 54 ppm
- Arsenic (As): 158 +/- 40 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): Negative / Non-Detect
- Mercury (Hg): Negative / Non-Detect
To learn more about XRF testing, Click HERE.
These levels are not uncommon in Christmas ornaments and the levels of toxicants on this particular ornament are actually quite low compared to many vintage ornaments that you may still have in your family’s collection.
In general glass ornaments are a good thing to stay away from if you want to avoid toxicants like Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium. Plus – OMG – they always break and make a mess anyway, right?
To see more Christmas items I have tested, Click HERE.
I have noticed however that newer ornaments from the Dollar stores, from Target and even from Michael’s may be Lead-free (but I cannot guarantee it and will not recommend any specific ones right now since there is so very much to test before drawing any conclusions across the board.)
In the newer ornaments the elements that I also have found to often test positive for lead are the little metal cap and hook at the top of each ornament (even when the rest of the ornament is free of toxicants.)
Ornaments are specifically marketed and labeled as being “not toys”, and “not for use by children.” As a result they are not breaking any sort of law or regulation by containing toxicants like Lead and Arsenic even though (in homes with young children) more often than not the children are handling them.
Personally I favor hand-made decorations to celebrate the holidays, but there are lead-free options to purchase out there, you just have to look for them (and they may have a much more rustic hand-made look than the glitz and glimmer of some of the more toxic options.) New modern ornaments that are less likely to have lead might be:
- Ornaments made of cloth and ribbon.
- Ornaments made of natural materials like shells, seeds or pinecones.
- Ornaments made of wood.
- Baked cookie ornaments (that are lacquered).
- Many new plastic ornaments (the ones that come in the tubes).
- Hand-made ceramic ornaments.
Ornaments that are more likely to be leaded:
- Glass ornaments
- Wire ornaments (including ones with rubber coated wire)
- Vintage ornaments
- Brass ornaments
- Crystal ornaments
If anyone is up for a new business idea, starting a Lead-free Christmas ornament company might be just what is needed now that consumer awareness is coming around to this concern.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.