Artificial Christmas Trees
Fake Christmas trees have a negative impact on the environment and pose significant health risks and hazards for both consumers and workers. Artificial Christmas trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (or PVC) which is a petroleum-derived plastic. The raw material for fake Christmas trees is both non-renewable and polluting. Furthermore, PVC production results in the unhealthy emission of a number of carcinogens, such as dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride.
Production of artificial Christmas trees in China and elsewhere is done in sweatshop conditions without the health concern for workers. Many workers involved in the production are exposed to dangerous chemicals without adequate safety controls.
In order to make the PVC needles on artificial trees more malleable, the manufacturers use lead and other additives which have been linked to liver, kidney, neurological and reproductive system damage in lab studies on animals. The Children's Health Environmental Coalition warns that fake trees "may shed lead-laced dust, which may cover branches or shower gifts and the floor below the tree."
Finally, since artificial trees are not biodegradable and cannot be recycled, their disposal is damaging to the environment. If disposed in a landfill, artificial trees will never breakdown but rather permanently remain in landfills. If disposed of by incineration, the PVC in artificial trees will emit into the atmosphere dioxins and other carcinogens resulting in health risks. Artificial Christmas trees are manufactured from a non-renewable source.
When purchasing a Christmas tree, the environmentally responsible decision is to opt for real Christmas tree rather than an artificial Christmas tree.