It almost sounds like a joke, doesn't it? Well it's not.

As if all the toys with lead aren't enough to ruin your holiday season, now we've got lead on the Christmas tree lights.

It's apparently widely known in the Christmas tree light industry that there is lead in the product. The lead helps make the product more durable and is a fire retardant.

But now researchers have found lead on the Christmas tree lights, and that's got people concerned. CNN had four common brands of Christmas lights examined by an independent lab, which found that lead on the coating of the cords in 3 of the 4 brands far exceeded a recommended children's limit of 15 micrograms.The concern is that adults and children alike may handle the lights and then go on to eat food without washing their hands. And who would have thought that there was lead on the product which could rub off and harm you if ingested?

Manufacturers of Christmas lights caution consumers to treat the lights as they would any household appliance: Keep them out of the hands of children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says, however, that the method used to test the lights by this independent lab is flawed. At any rate, I don't think it's wise to unnecessarily expose children to this risk. Keep your kids away from Christmas lights as a routine protection from electrical hazards and other possible problems like lead.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.

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