What to Look for in a Non-Toxic Christmas Tree

I promise I’m not trying to be the grinch here, but when it comes to creating a healthy non-toxic home it doesn’t stop during the holidays! Christmas trees (Artificial and Real) both pose certain positive and negative attributes when it comes to a safe, healthy home.



Real Christmas Trees

Pros

  • Has the scent of Christmas.

  • Better for the environment than artificial trees.

Cons

  • You can bring unwanted mold spores into the home.

  • Sap and pollen can also cause allergic reactions (when considering cutting a tree down in the forest).

  • If it’s not organic, it might be covered in pesticides from the farm.

What You can Do

  • Spray the tree down with a hose, EC3 (mold solution), and let it dry in the sun before bringing it into the house.

  • Buy an organic tree to avoid pesticides, this still doesn’t help with the mold issue.

  • Run an air purifier in the house near the tree to keep the air clean in that area.

  • Opt for a smaller tree and only keep the tree in the home for 4-7 days max to minimize mold growth and exposure.



Artificial Christmas Trees

Pros

  • Less risk for mold and allergies.

  • Easy to buy once and have for years to come.

Cons

  • They contain toxins like PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), lead, phthalates, and flame retardants. These chemicals can offgas, meaning the chemical is reactive in normal temperatures and turns to a gas that infiltrates our indoor air and we inhale the toxins and they can release SVOCs which are heavier than VOCs and end up as particulate in our dust that we then run the risk of ingesting or absorbing through our skin.

  • Many PVC trees have been replaced with PET, and PEVA, but these are still not great for the environment.

  • It can be REALLY hard to find a toxin-free Christmas tree. There’s not a lot of companies thinking about this.

  • They can get really dusty when you store them, this can also cause allergies and mold spores can live in our dust.

  • These chemicals can cause endocrine disruption and specifically thyroid issues. Phthalates are also known as “forever chemicals” because they stick around in our system and don’t break down.

What You can Do

  • Look for more realistic, artificial trees. This is how you can tell the tree hasn’t been made with PVC.

  • Wipe down your tree really well with soap and water every year to clean off any dust build up and wipe down any SVOCs that might have degraded over the last year in storage.

  • Make sure you’re storing it in a climate controlled area in an airtight container, not cardboard. The cardboard runs the risk of growing mold which can contaminate the tree.

  • Run an air purifier in the house near the tree to keep the air clean in that area.

  • Keep your home clean to limit the amount of SVOCs in your dust.

  • Wash your hands after handling the tree to make sure you’re not absorbing any of the toxins through your skin or touching your mouth and accidentally ingesting them.

  • Buy a tree from IKEA or look for a PVC free tree. If you want to avoid toxins altogether, you might even consider an “alternative tree.” When googled, you can find some amazing DIY ideas for Alternative Christmas Trees.

  • Use a good cleaner, like Force of Nature Clean to wipe down and disinfect your tree, you can use code ‘Bundlesave30’ in December to save 30% off bundles.


Now, this doesn’t mean your Christmas tree is going to cause you issues! This is just to note that there are risks with both real and fake trees when we’re considering making swaps to a more non-toxic living space. If you want to learn more about ways you can create a healthier home environment, you can always head over to www.awakeningspaces.com to learn more or book a call to see how your environment might be impacting your health.


 

This article was written and contributed by:

Ashley Spanovich

CEO, Owner, Lead Designer at Awakening Spaces


awakeningspaces.com \ @awakeningspaces

Ashley, the founder of Awakening Spaces, supports environmentally susceptible and health-conscious individuals in creating safe, healthy, and beautiful environments. As a licensed Interior Designer, she combines her expertise of the construction industry with her knowledge of health and wellbeing to support and empower you along your own journey in creating a healing environment. Ashley is currently pursuing a triple certification in Building Biology and will soon be certified to assess your home for mold, electro-magnetic radiation, and other harmful environmental toxins. Awakening Spaces offers both Full Service Interior Design as well as Environmental Health Coaching services for those looking to improve the health of their home. Ashley finds inspiration in her work through nature and is most grounded when spending time outdoors and exploring new places.



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