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.