Be careful what you wish for this Christmas

Home-made Christmas presents containing recycled materials may contain poisonous substances, warns the Ministry of Environment and Food

The season of giving is fast approaching – bringing with it a mad rush to go out and buy the perfect presents for your family and loved ones.

However, new information from the Ministry of Environment and Food warns that there’s something you don’t want under your Christmas tree this year.

‘Gift’ means poison in Danish 
During the Christmas season, homemade ‘gift’ making goes into overdrive at kindergartens all over the country, and presents made from recycled materials may contain significant quantities of harmful substances, warns the Environmental Protection Ministry.

This is because Danish law now bans certain substances and ingredients that can still be found in older, recycled material. These substances, which were banned precisely because they were found to be harmful, are now turning up in homemade presents – everything from bracelets to small figurines may be contaminated.

Electronics from before 2006 may contain lead, which compromises neurological function; car tyres from before 2006 may contain PAH, which is a carcinogenic substance; and foam mattresses made before 2010 (used for padding for pillows and cushions) may contain organic compounds that interfere with normal hormone function.

Particularly harmful
The ministry pointed at jewellery made from recycled materials (such as electronic wires) as a particularly harmful present.

“Children wear these pieces of jewellery and very often put them in their mouths,” Dorte Lerche from the ministry told Metroxpress.

“This can actually lead to the absorption of lead into their bodies, which can then have an effect on their ability to learn.”