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A Mold Recovery Blog
Monday, November 13 2017

You've always enjoyed having a real Christmas Tree.  It brings back memories of the past, nostalgic family feelings for most, however did you realize that it also brings trillions of mold spores as well?!!!

Did you know that pine trees begin to decay and produce mold spores that release mycotoxin into the air as soon as they are cut?  It only takes a few short days for the spores to start duplicating and building up in an indoor environment, including homes, schools and offices.

Have you ever noticed that you feel sick or maybe you already know that you have been exposed to mold and when you bring out the Christmas decor or go shopping for that perfect Christmas Tree every year you start to feel a lot of mold illness symptoms coming back? 

Remember, we don't have to give up our holidays to enjoy life again...we just need to alter our shopping purchases and make sure that the items we are bringing into our homes or are storing in our basements and attics are not going to re-contaminate our homes or working environments. 

 

Some research shows that mold counts in indoor environments can raise mold and spore counts as high as 5 times the normal "range" in as little as a week or two after bringing it indoors. 

In a study conducted by The National High School Journal of Science "Household air samples were taken from families in the Washington Township, New Jersey area both before and during the winter holiday season.  Data shows that there is a substantial (100%) increase in the number of mold spores in the air when a family introduces a live Christmas tree into the home.  Families that use artificial Christmas trees also experienced an increase in mold, and those that did not use any type of tree during the winter holiday season did not see an appreciable increase in airborne mold.  42% of participants with underlying respiratory disorders (such as allergies) experienced an increase in their symptoms when there was a live tree, versus 13% if an artificial tree was used.  These results indicate live Christmas trees carry mold which causes a seasonal flare-up of allergy symptoms in susceptible individuals."

It is well-known that people exhibit crazy symptoms around the holidays that are very much in alignment with a toxic mold exposure.  Symptoms range from shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, throat and eye burning, asthma flares, itching skin, fevers, rashes and new food allergies.  Because of this, we highly recommend that people NOT purchase freshly cut trees but opt for artificial trees that they can properly clean each year to minimize the possibility of an exposure.

If you are absolutely set on buying or cutting a fresh tree, the only way to minimize the effects of an exposure would be to only have the tree in the home for no more than "4 DAYS". 


Cross Contamination

The issue of cross contamination is also a very serious issue.  Most often, christmas decorations from years-past can be moldy and become a NEW exposure every single year.  The dangers of keeping ornaments and christmas crafts that are made of porous materials are that they can hold mold spores that can lay dorment inside and on the surface of these items all year round and then are brought out and disturbed into the open air during the holiday season.  Moisture from shower areas, snowy and rainy weather, steam from cooking pots, humidifiers or even water based essential oil diffusers can trigger an expansion of a mold spore and result in growth and a new colony of toxic mold. 

If you have decorations or old trees in storage, make sure to bring them outside and take inventory of our "porous" and "non-porous" decor and throw out the "porous" items and do not bring them back into the home.  Although it may be hard to part with memories from the past, such as precious ornaments made by your children or grandchildren, always keep in mind that your health and the future health of your family and pets is more important than a memory from yesteryear.  Here are some ideas to replace old contaminated moldy decorations with new "non-porous" options that are easy to clean each year and will not grow mold.

Use Glass Ornaments
Glass is "non-porous" and these type of decorations can be washed in either borax, ammonia, baking soda or anti-fungal essential oils each year before putting them on your tree.  Because of the non-porous nature of the material mold will not grow on them and mycotoxin can be easily neutralized by washing them annually in the solutions that are above mentioned.  You can buy glass ornaments HERE

Use Metal Ornaments and Decorations
Metal is a "non-porous" material that can be washed in either borax, ammonia, baking soda or anti-fungal essential oils annually before you bring them out to display them in your home.  Just keep metal away from conducting electricity is probably the only warning we can give.  You can buy metal Christmas Decor HERE

Use Artificial Christmas Trees
Artificial trees can be washed annually to help prevent and minimize toxic mold expossures.  Avoid trees with wooden trunks or bases as wood can harbor mold spores because it is considered a porous material.  You can buy artificial christmas trees HERE

How to clean an artificial christmas tree for mold and mycotoxin:  Start with filling a bathtub with water a few inches from the top, add 3-4 cups of "Clear" Ammonia.  Submerge the entire tree and stand/base for about 10-15 minutes (there's no magic timing for this).  This will neutralize any mycotoxin that may be present anywhere on the tree or stand.  Let the ammonia water down the drain and rinse both the tree, sstand and tub out thorougly.  With a second round, fill a bathtub with water a few inches from the top and this time add 2-3 cups of borax or baking soda.  This second rinse will make sure that any mold spores are destroyed and no longer an issue. 

Use Beads for Garland
Use plastic, glass, porcelain, metal or glass beads for garland instead of the furry looking garland or real tree branches that might be more prone to spores or mycotoxin.  You can buy beads HERE

 

Avoid Using These Types of Christmas Decor

Real Trees
Real Garlands or Wreaths
Fuzzy Garland
Popcorn string garland
Anything made with cotton
Wooden ornaments that are NOT sealed with varnish (varnish adds protection to the pores and puts a barrier between the wood/food that mold requires to grow) so in other words: raw wood decor and ornaments.
Decor made with tree trunks or branches (this is super popular, but bad for mold exposure)
Decor made with moss
Wooden baskets
Firewood (can be highly contaminated)
Leather decor
Anything made from paper
Storing christmas decorations in cardboard boxes
Keeping cristmas decorations in wet and humid areas of the home
Stuffed animals
Pillows (anything material thicker than an inch)
Cards and wrapping paper
Felt
Foam any kind
Yarn

  If you don’t feel well during the holidays, your
Christmas tree & decor could be one of the causes.


 

Comment below and let us know if you have other ideas for non-porous Christmas decor

 

Posted by: Surviving Toxic Mold AT 11:02 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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