"Can you decorate your Fraser fir without getting pesticide residue in your lungs and on your skin?"
Sure, if the tree is certified organic by the Department of Agriculture. Or if it is a Certified Naturally Grown tree, which meets the same basic requirements: it was raised without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, using sustainable methods like composting and erosion control.
Unfortunately, many Christmas trees — especially those from large tree farms in Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, and Canada — are sprayed with pesticides. And even though we’re not munching on the needles, we might still be breathing in harmful chemicals when we take a big whiff of "that Christmas-y smell."
Some of the pesticides will break down in the rain and with exposure to UV light, says one researcher. However (emphasis mine), "some residues would probably remain, just as they remain on the food we eat. How much that is — how dangerous that is — nobody knows."
Oh, Christmas tree …
For more on the Christmas tree dilemma, see these related stories:
- Umbra’s advice on real vs. fake trees
- Umbra’s advice on finding organic trees
- Umbra’s advice on living Christmas trees