First, let me say that we recommend going with a real Christmas tree if possible (read more about why here). But what if allergies make having a live tree in your home impossible and you can't afford to invest in a PVC-free Christmas tree this year? It's a totally legitimate question, and one that we've been getting non-stop this season.
How to Use a PVC Christmas Tree More Safely
It's no doubt that polyethylene (PE) Christmas trees are definitely more expensive, and we're only talking about a couple of weeks out of the year here, right? I believe it's possible to strike a balance when it comes to living a safe, natural life, so let's work through this tricky situation together.
As you know, toxic PVC plastic is no joke, so keep in mind that there's no perfect solution to having a big pile of it sitting in your living room…
Let's start with the good news: if you have an older tree, it off-gasses those volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for a few days up to about four weeks.
This means that your main concern will be the chemicals in PVC (i.e. lead, phthalates, and possibly flame retardants) that continue to slough off and end up in the dust around the tree.
Here's what I recommend:
- Damp mop and/or vacuum the whole area on a regular basis (learn more about how to do it really well here)
- Teach your kiddos not to touch the tree (seriously – it doesn't take much lead to cause a problem in growing children!)
- Wear gloves when assembling the tree – especially if you're pregnant
- Save up for a safer Christmas tree next year
How will you be handling your artificial Christmas tree this year?