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How to Avoid Lead in Your Artificial Christmas Tree

Many Floridians prefer artificial Christmas trees to real ones. They look just as good, if not better, than the real thing and they're ready when you want to put it up. There are no needles to fall off and get embedded in your carpet. Your dogs are less likely to use an artificial tree as a bathroom than a real one. Lastly, you don't have to drag it out to the trash after Christmas.

However, just what are artificial trees made from? Most are made from polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene plastic.

There has been concern about PVC in artificial Christmas trees as well as other holiday decorations because they contain lead. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that lead is likely carcinogenic. Scientists have also linked it to nerve damage, brain damage, learning disorders, hearing problems, digestive problems and stunted growth -- particularly in young children.

When you are shopping for an artificial tree, it's important to note that even those trees that are made from PE may have some PVC in the branches and needles. "Pre-lit" trees that come with strings of lights already on them also likely have PVC around the lights.

Obviously, there is no way to keep your home 100 percent toxin free. However, you can minimize your family's exposure to lead by purchasing an unlit tree that contains no PVC. If you believe that you or a loved one has been made ill by exposure to PVC, it may be worthwhile to find out what your legal options are.

Source: The Soft Landing, "How to Find a Non-toxic Artificial Christmas Tree," Alicia Voorhies, RN, accessed Dec. 01, 2015

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