Recently I read that under Proposition 65 in California, artificial Christmas trees are required to carry a warning label. There is now consideration in New York State for consumer legislation to disclose a warning indicating a lead hazard in artificial Christmas trees made with PVC – polyvinyl chloride. Most of these trees are imported from China. Supposedly, touching the branches – or anything under the tree that might have accumulated some dust from the branches above – could contain lead and be a hazard, especially to children. The proposed Senate bill (S1644) in New York would require that a warning label be attached to any holiday decoration containing lead, and fines would be levied against stores that did not comply.
Toxic Christmas trees? Is nothing sacred? This ranks right up there with poisoned Halloween candy.
Apparently, you better be washing your hands after hanging up those ornaments and touching your fake tree. Worse, if you are going to vacuum under or around it, a HEPA filter in your vacuum is highly recommended lest lead particles get blown around everywhere.
Since these lapsing brain cells of mine (possibly caused by the little fake tree I had finally opted for over a live one these past two years) could no longer recall exactly where I saw this, I did a search and found a government site from 2004 stating this reality. And yet another site from 2002. And probably before then too. Where have I been? Has everybody known about this? And what has taken them so long? They have known about this for at least a decade and have allowed children to be potentially damaged by this? Is there some powerful trade lobby involved in allowing this to happen? I just don’t get it.
My small tree will be packed up and put away this weekend. When I go up into the attic to retrieve the box, I will then discover where it was made. I have little doubt that it is imported. And then…how do you safely dispose of such a thing? I imagine there is no safe way. And here I thought it was a great alternative to cutting down live trees and discarding them after a few days. That, and the convenience. It seemed to make sense at the time.
I am disheartened at the dishonestly. I am frightened about the state of our beautiful, polluted and poisoned world.
A reader (thank you Rachelle) had suggested keeping a small, live Norfolk pine in a pot year round and decorating it on the holidays. I think that solution is in my future.