The holiday season is full of complicated choices, including the conundrum of how to find the perfect Christmas tree. The most important part of choosing a tree is not its size or shape, but rather finding one that will pose the least risk to the health of your family and the environment. The average American families spend over 30 million dollars on Christmas trees alone during the holiday season. The need for increasing awareness around this obligation for clean trees in our homes is necessary for you and your family’s safety.
As with food, choosing a tree that is local and organic is best. Conventional farming is a dirty business and when the crop is not food, it’s even worse. Chemicals applied to conventional agricultural crops are applied outdoors, which then become absorbed into plant tissues, consumed by insects and animals, and are leached into the soil and groundwater. The soil and groundwater is then used to fertilize and harvest other conventional crops, spreading the toxins even further. The chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracks that are used in conventional Christmas tree crops are linked to numerous negative health concerns including higher risks of cancer, neurotoxicity, asthma, hormonal disruption and much more.
Artificial trees can be even worse than conventionally farmed trees for the environment and human health. Most artificial Christmas trees are made from Polyvinyl Chloride Plastic, often referred to as PVC, a known carcinogen. Lead can be used to stabilize certain PVC products, and some labels on artificial christmas trees caution individuals to avoid inhaling or eating any bits of lead dust that may fall from the branches. Artificial trees are also oil-based, and carry a sleigh-load of flame retardants and chemicals that accentuate their bright green color. They also cannot be recycled and do not decompose once thrown away, making them a burden to the environment.
So what is the solution to having a clean, green, and toxin free Christmas tree in your home for your family? Organic trees are a dramatic improvement from conventionally grown and artificial trees. Organic farming has more strict regulations when it comes to chemicals in crops, which means less health risks for you and your family. However, naturally derived chemicals are still present from run-off irrigation systems used in conventional farming. Although organic trees are safer, they still have risks of toxins, so sourcing your tree from a farm you trust is a big factor in choosing your tree for your home.
The choice of recycling your tree is just as important as you choosing the right tree. By recycling your Christmas tree after the holidays season, your tree can be a gift that keeps on giving to the environment or your community. If curbside pickup for your tree is not available in your neighborhood, look into what local non-profit organizations offer donations of Christmas Trees for families in need.
- 22 December, 2018
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