DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd.
Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts

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Family decorating beautiful live Christmas tree.It’s that time of year again! The holidays are well on the way. And you know what that means for people all over the world – it’s time to put up the decorations! Canadians seem to especially love this time of year. With winter imagery so directly associated with Christmas, it’s quite enjoyable to “deck the halls” with as many seasonal decorations as possible. After all, Canada is certainly known for its winters. And most Canadians see the end-of-year holiday season as the best part of winter.

Of course, it’s important to be take precautions when bringing the winter indoors. Most people choose to decorate their homes with store-bought materials that are safe, for the most part. But there are still some traditionalists who like to include live evergreen trees as part of their Christmas decor. Is bringing the outside in all that dangerous? Can it present a problem for our health?

Do live Christmas trees negatively impact indoor air quality? As far as Brian Bussey of Bussey Environmental Inc. is concerned, the answer is yes. “Live Christmas trees can carry pathogenic mould spores that proliferate rapidly in the cozy warmth of your living room,” he writes, “One study showed that indoor mould counts went from 800 to 5,000 spores per cubic meter by the fourteenth day a Christmas tree had been kept indoors.”

Just how bad is the increase of indoor mould due to live Christmas trees? Honestly, it’s pretty bad. In fact, Bussey refers to it as “an explosion of mould growth”. This is because the average healthy home tests at about 600 mould spores per cubic metre. This information was discovered at the conclusion of a study by researchers, John Santilli, M.D. of St. Vincent Medical Center in Connecticut and Rebecca Gruchalla, M.D. of University of Texas.

What symptoms can live Christmas trees trigger? If you’re an asthmatic, you know the symptoms all too well. Wheezing and a shortness of breath have been known to be caused by having live trees inside the home. Of course, these symptoms are common among allergy sufferers who are exposed to mould spores. So, it should go without saying that such individuals should stick to the plastic variety of Christmas trees each holiday season.

But what makes live Christmas trees so prone to the development of mould? It has a lot to do with how they are stored prior to sale, says Patricia Kirk on WebMD.com. She too, writes of the study conducted by Santilli and Gruchalla and comments upon the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores.

According to Kirk, Gruchalla says that “the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores comes as no surprise, particularly since most Christmas trees are cut well in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment before being placed on a lot for sale. Then they’re then taken home and placed in water too.” She goes on to note that such trees collect dust while in storage and should be shaken out prior to being brought inside, if you insist on them.

So how do you plan on decorating your home for the upcoming holidays? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we certainly recommend that you do in the safest way possible. Promoting good indoor air quality while beautifying your home for Christmas should be your priority. For more information on our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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