ANN CAHILL: EU report finds 3 in 10 Christmas light sets may be lethal

CHRISTMAS lights can be lethal, with three in 10 likely to lead to electric shocks or even fire, according to a new report.

About 30% of the seasonal lights usually decorating Christmas trees were found to be faulty with dodgy plugs, cord, wiring, insulation or protection against electric shock.

As a result of these shortcomings, a quarter of Christmas light sets tested were likely to lead to electric shocks because of wires coming loose while another quarter were liable to overheat and cause fire.

Samples of Christmas lights were tested in five countries, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Netherlands. But Consumer Commissioner Maglena Kuneva said that the brands tested were being sold in other member states and warned that they should be tested.

Labour MEP Alan Kelly said that, since most houses in the country will have Christmas lights, it was extremely important that the authorities made sure that what was on sale was safe.

“We don’t want a tragedy at Christmas because of shoddy lights – and the Commission report shows this is a real issue,” he said.

The least problems were found in the Netherlands where for the last eight years consumer organisations have been testing and reporting on their safety. They have managed to halve the number of dangerous products in that time.

Hungary had the biggest number of hazardous lights, while almost half of the products were made in China.

Commissioner Kuneva said to keep safe over Christmas, people should buy from reputable dealers, should never leave lights on when they are out of the house or at night when people are asleep; and stop using if they suspect any kind of problem.


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