Tuesday, December 24, 2002
The Washington Poison Center has issued the following facts about popular holiday decorations.
Poinsettias may irritate the mouth or stomach, and the sap may irritate the skin of some people, but it is otherwise non-toxic.
Holly berries, if eaten, may cause a stomachache.
Mistletoe berries, if eaten, may cause a stomachache.
Evergreen needles are non-toxic, but their sharpness may cause discomfort. Beware of homemade Christmas tree preservatives. They may be toxic, if consumed.
Christmas tree ornaments are not poison hazards, but a young child could choke on small parts.
Tinsel, icicles, glitter and garlands are made of plastic, aluminum, or tin. If swallowed, they are not usually a problem, but can be a problem in ears, up the nose, etc.
Artificial snow contains wax and long-chain fatty acids that are non-toxic. However, repeatedly inhaling the aerosol could cause breathing problems.
Wax candles are non-toxic.
Angel hair is not poisonous, but it is made of spun glass (similar to fiberglass) and may irritate the eyes, skin or mouth.
Commercial wrapping paper and ribbon are made with non-toxic dyes.
Perfumes and colognes (popular gifts left under the tree) often contain alcohol, but, in virtually all instances, the amount consumed is too small to be a problem.
If you have additional questions about a potential poison, call the Washington Poison Center, (800) 222-1222.