In June of 2015, a new safety regulation for decorative lighting during
the holidays was introduced. This directive, issued by the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety, is meant to more efficiently eliminate dangerous products
from the consumer marketplace.
As the Christmas holiday season approaches, this innovative rule is expected
to affect many Americans. Nearly 90 percent of homes across the country
are decorated for the holidays. Of this number, almost two thirds use
electric decorations for inside their homes and half use exterior electric displays.
There are many types of electric lighting decorations popular during the
holiday season. Some of the most common include wreaths, figurines, stars,
electric candles, animated figures, and various other sculptures and decorative
features. The CPSC’s new rule states that these products must possess
three specific characteristics:
- Sufficient strain relief
- Overcurrent protection,
- Minimum wire size
If any decorative electrical lighting products lack either of those three
safety features, the organization will grade them with a considerable
consumer product hazard. This makes it easier for the CPSC to stop shipments
at U.S. ports of non-compliant decorative lights. It will also be better
able to obtain product recalls for decorative lights that have already
been purchased by consumers.
Between 1980 and 2014 alone, 258 deaths have been attributed to seasonal
or decorative electrical lighting products. While this new regulation
does not require additional testing or paperwork from manufacturers, the
CPSC hopes it will improve safety for consumers.