Tuesday, December 6, 2005


Today’s topic, debunking another myth about Real Christmas Trees.

Often, we get emails and inquiries from news media asking if there is a type of Christmas Tree that won’t bother a person’s allergies. We’ve collected sources of information both about trees and allergies and share these with people.

Sources include the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). So it’s not just “the Christmas Tree people” saying that the farm-grown tree itself is not the culprit of allergy causes.
A quick summary of the sources we have found are that while it’s possible that a person may be allergic to tree pollen or even tree sap, it’s not as widespread as many believe. We did hear from someone this week who had a family member that did have an allergy to tree sap. My understanding is that is quite rare and I certainly sympathize with someone who has that condition. As a quick side note, I also sympathize with people who have an allergy to peanuts.

That has nothing to do with Christmas Trees...I just love peanut butter.

Anyway, as for pollens, which certainly can be an allergen to people, a Real Tree itself is unlikely to produce pollen during December, and even if it did, pollens from pines are not a known allergen. According to the NIEHS of the 50,000 different kinds of trees, less than 100 have been shown to cause allergies. Most allergies are specific to one type of tree.

But being outdoors for years in the field, a Christmas Tree can collect pollens, dust, mold or other allergens. Of course, so can the artificial tree stored in the attic or basement. Whether you use a fresh Christmas Tree from a farm, or an artificial tree stored in a box, if you have sensitive allergies to dust, molds, etc. it's probably a good idea to simply spray the tree down in the yard with a hose before putting up. Let it dry completely before putting in the stand and bringing indoors.

Resources we have found pertaining to holiday allergy prevention: