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Is My Christmas Tree Toxic?

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

The classic seasonal debate as to which is a better option, a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas Tree, may boil down to one simple fact: Your artificial tree is probably toxic!

There are many reasons that people favor an artificial tree over a real one. Real trees can be messy with all those needles falling everywhere, require maintenance to keep them fresh and healthy, and it can be costly, time-consuming, and labor intense to buy and set up a real Christmas tree every year.

However, while the artificial trees may seem like an easier option, you may be better off getting a real tree, and here is why:

Reason #1: Most artificial trees are made from PVC, which is one of the most toxic types of plastic. PVC contains chlorine and phthalates which are known endocrine disruptors.

Reason #2: Flame retardants are commonly found on fake trees. This might seem like a good thing, but tiny flame retardant molecules can “off-gas” from your plastic Christmas tree and end up in the dust in your home. We can then breathe them in where they can cause endocrine disruption, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, and brain impairment.

Reason #3: Believe it or not, almost all fake trees contain some amount of lead. Lead is actually used as a stabilizer in many kinds of PVC products, so the two environmental toxins often come together.

Reason #4: It's not necessarily better for the environment. Artificial trees are petroleum-based products manufactured primarily in factories. The average family uses a fake tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill indefinitely. If you want to save your family from toxic exposure and help the environment, buy a tree with a root bulb and replant it after use.


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