The dangerous history of tinsel

The Dangerous History Of Tinsel
The Dangerous History Of Tinsel

One of the most popular and simple symbols of Christmas decorations has a surprising history.

Tinsel was first invented in the 1600s but it wasn't cheap. Back then it was made from strands of silver, but over the next few centuries, manufacturers found ways to produce cheaper tinsel with aluminized paper.

But that idea was cut short when consumers discovered it was more of a ... fire hazard, than a decoration.

Then came lead. It didn't tarnish as quickly as silver. It was cheaper, and it didn't catch on fire next to hot tree lights.

But by the 1970s, researchers discovered that lead wasn't a good choice either, because it's particularly dangerous to kids...and having lots of poisonous shiny things around the house isn't going to make the holiday cheer last long.

So in 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put a stop to that production and manufacturers had to come up with new ingredients to sell the Christmas staple.

But the change was kept a secret. One official told The Associated Press the FDA didn't publicize it over fear "that many people preferring the lead variety would stockpile it."

Tinsel today is now made from a fire-friendly plastic...keeping your family and your home safe and shiny.

Check out AOL user's crazy holiday decorations:

More from AOL
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's estate is on sale for $18.5 million
President Obama possibly caught singing with Stephen Colbert
Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol