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Christmas Trees and MCS





MCS America

Lourdes Salvador's Column

...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.








Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). She was a passionate advocate for the homeless and worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who serve them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week, a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air.


For more information visit MCS America




Monday, January 4th, 2010:


Q&A: Christmas Trees and MCS


by Lourdes Salvador



Q:  My son and I have multiple chemical sensitivity and had extreme trouble with our Christmas tree this year.  First we bought a live tree, then a fake one.  Both caused my son to have bad asthma attacks and we finally gave up on the tree, but Christmas just wasn’t the same.  What’s the problem with trees?  Is there something we can we do next year to replace our tree with something safe so we can enjoy Christmas?


A:  Live Christmas trees may be sprayed with any number of chemicals which could cause problems in those with asthma and chemical sensitivity.  After harvest, trees are often sprayed with a chemical preservative and synthetic pine scent to keep them looking and smelling fresher longer. Pesticides and herbicides are also used in the production of Christmas trees. 


Artificial trees often contain formaldehyde and any number of suspect chemicals which make up soft plastics. 


The best bet is to locate a Christmas tree farm in your area.  These are places where you can go to cut your own tree.  Doing so ensures that no chemicals are added after harvest.  Check with the farmer regarding pesticide and herbicide use during the growing season. 


Another consideration is the ornaments placed on the tree.  Many commercially made ornaments have been found to contain high levels various chemicals which exceed the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when placed in confined settings, such as a home during the winter months when windows are sealed tight. 


Alternative decorations include those which you make yourself.  Consider popcorn strands, crocheted ornaments, and other crafts the whole family can enjoy making. 


Running an air filter is often helpful.  If it turns out that allergies or sensitivities are totally incompatible with a Christmas tree, consider placing the tree outside on a porch and leaving the drapes open so that you can enjoy the tree and still keep your air space pure.







For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.


Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America



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