Thursday, November 25, 2010

Little People, Artificial Christmas Trees and Lead

Ah, the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree.  The memories of the hay ride to find the tree, the laughter as we watch daddy cut down the tree while flexing his muscles.  The hot chocolate, the friends, the animals, the picnic, the giggles as we sing Christmas songs all the way home from the Christmas tree farm.  Love our memories, hate the allergies!!!  For a few years we cut down a Leyland Cypress tree, which is supposed to be hypoallergenic, and were problem free.  Last year, however that was not the case.  Once we brought the humongous 9 foot tree into our house our precious little people went from darling little angels to snot nose little rug rats that stayed up all night crying.  The tree had to GO!!!  Right away.  A WEEK before Christmas we were treeless.  You can imagine, 3 little people, lots of presents, no tree equals SAD little people.   Would Santa still come?  The questions went on and on.

As any good momma would do I went out and about to the nearest store to purchase an artificial tree.  The little people bought in to the idea of the new tree.  Another Christmas tree party was on the way!  When I got to the store I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks.  A warning label on the box about lead.  No thanks.  I had enough problems with the allergies, and I didn't need the lead troubles.  So I returned home to be the scrooge mommy and break my little people's hearts.  Better to be safe than sorry I thought. 

As soon as I walked in the door I ran to the computer to research artificial Christmas trees and lead free alternatives.  Apparently 85% of artificial trees come from China and these trees contain some level of lead.  This poses a problem for households that have small children as they are so often touching the branches, inhaling the lead dust that is often under the tree and on the presents.  I found a site that performed experiements on the levels of lead and different ways to come in contact with the lead.  Here are their findings: "Results from these experiments show that, while the average artificial Christmas tree does not present a significant exposure risk, in the worst-case scenarios a substantial health risk to young children is quite possible."  That was all I needed to hear.  Not worth the risk.

So on I researched.  I found that American-made artificial trees did not contain lead.  I found a website and called to confirm this fact.  Then I asked which stores carried the trees.  None.  We had to order it online and did not receive it in time for Christmas.  Actually, it wasn't going to make it in time so I waited until after Christmas to get a better deal.  It was the same deal as before Christmas if you're wondering!  Here is the link to the site we ordered our tree.  There are other American companies that also sell lead-free trees.  The only drawback I have found is that they are more expensive than the trees manufactured in China.  If you do decide to get an American made tree, I would recommend you ask your own questions about lead content.  Just to be sure.

This year we are about to pull out our lead-free artificial tree.  We still plan on making the drive to the wonderful Christmas Tree Farm in Elgin this year.  We just won't return home with a tree tied to the top of our van.  Here's a link if you are interested.

If you do have an artifical Christmas tree made in China here are a few recommendations to keep children safe.  "To be extra safe, don't let your children touch or handle a plastic tree or crawl underneath it. Don't keep presents underneath it either, as they will collect any lead dust that falls."  As for adults, wash hands after handling or wear disposable gloves.  Just FYI, Christmas tree lights contain lead too.

Here is hoping that all of my precious friends have a wonderful and safe holiday season.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No comments:

Post a Comment