The 5 Dirty Little Secrets of Christmas Trees
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Bacteria Health Risks, Black Mold, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Children and Mold, Commercial Inspections, Mold Solutions, Senior Citizens and mold, Sick Building, Toxic Mold,Indoor Air Quality | 1 Comment
We at Volunteer Inspections in Knoxville wish all of our clients joy and safety this Christmas and New Years Holiday.
As the trees go up understand that artificial and live cut varieties can put your family at risk.Both live cut and stored artificial trees can deliver huge mold and other particulate contaminates into your otherwise healthy home and office.
Many of my clients use artificial trees to protect their families from serious mold and other allergens. Each year we receive calls from folks experiencing skyrocketing allergies and other respiratory distress.
Dirty Secret # 1. Live Cut Trees support mold and bacterial growths
Problem: Live Cut Trees are often cut in early or late November and trucked hundreds or thousands of mile to your local tree lot. Often little care is given to preventing mold and parasites from remaining on the tree. It makes sense that cut trees can foster the growth and carry those contaminates into your home or office.
Solution: If you must have a real tree take steps to prevent the introduction of allergens into your building. Before you take the tree indoors set it up outside, hose it down thoroughly with a mold resistant sealant (sold at Home Depot and Lowes) and let it dry throughly prior to bringing it in. Avoid trees species like Mountian Cedar that pollinate during the winter. Allergy suffers should consider wearing dust masks during all of these steps.
Dirty Secret #2. Artificial Trees are full of Allergens
Problem: Artificial Trees are often bagged and stored year after year and kept in the attic, basement or other area of the home that is typically dusty or not conditioned. After years of use bags can be torn and often dusty in addition to the tree within. Dust normally fosters the proliferation of dust mites, insects and other pesky allergens. Many children and older adults can have significant respiratory reactions as the trees are opened and branches are “fluffed up”. The combination of a closed building and forced air systems with the introduction of a large volume of allergens can cause discomfort for most of us and suffering for other family members and guests.
Solution: Open the stored bag and remove the tree outside of your home and office first. Set the tree up and wash or blow it off with compressed air or a leaf blower to remove as much dust and other contaminates as possible. Do the same for the storage bag. If you don’t have a sealed tree storage bag buy one now. Storage bags are normally on sale at the end of the Christmas season.Allergy suffers should consider wearing dust masks during all of these steps.
Dirty Secret #3. Falling Tree Zones
Problem: Kids and pets are attracted to the curiosity of your beautiful tree. Many critters, human and otherwise, may be temped to climb or pull on the tree causing it to topple.
Solution: Avoid placing food items like candy canes, popcorn or realistic food type decorations on the tree. Food items lure kids and pets to the tree. Place the tree in a very sturdy, weighted stand that is rated for the height and size of your tree.
Dirty Secret # 4. Fire Hazards
Problem: Trees are involved in hundreds of house and building fires every year that can be easily avoided. Never put a tree, artificial, live or cut near a fireplace or space heater.. Trees should be at least their heights length from any combustable or fire source. Check all of the wiring of lights and outlets for exposed or frayed wires. It is very common for older artificial trees to have damaged wiring after several years of use. While your at it check the batteries and function of all your smoke detecter and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) detectors.
Dirty Secret # 5. Poison Ornaments
Problem: Many antique ornaments contain lead based paints and coatings. We have tested any for client and found high levels. Some new ornaments from china and third world countries have toxic substances that pose heath risks. Read packaging disclosures carefully. Ornaments like tinsel and with small objects are investable by pets and children. Select ornaments carefully and with an eye towards vulnerable household members and guests. Always supervise or sewerage pets and children from tree areas.