Tiny LED holiday bulbs contain lead, arsenic

| Thursday, February 24, 2011 | |
by Wendy Koch

Small holiday LED bulbs, marketed as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional light bulbs, contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, reports a study released Thursday.

The low-intensity red LEDs (light emitting diodes) in Christmas lighting strands had up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law, and while the white bulbs had less lead than the colored ones, they had high levels of nickel, according to a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the University of California, Davis.

"I didn't expect this full range of chemicals to leach out," said study co-author Oladele Ogunseitan, chairman, of UC Irvine's Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention. He said the research, published in the January 2011 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to examine LEDs for toxic chemicals.

Ogunseitan told Green House that consumers are not at risk unless the bulbs break. In that event, he advises users to sweep up the pieces with a special broom while wearing gloves and a mask. He says the tiny red LEDs are "hazardous waste" and shouldn't be tossed in the trash.



Post a Comment