From the Telegraph 18/12/11:
The condition – "Christmas Tree Syndrome" – is caused by mould growing on the trees, whose spores lead to problems when breathed in.
It has been discovered by scientists from Upstate Medical University, part of the State University of New York, who carried out research after observing a peak in respiratory illnesses in the weeks either side of December 25.
The team analysed clippings from 28 Christmas trees including needles and bark, from a range of species, and found 53 cases of mould.
Of these, 70 per cent can cause symptoms including itchy noses, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, sinus congestion, feelings of fatigue and problems sleeping.
Some of the mould identified can even lead to long term lung problems and conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
The mould occurs on the trees naturally, but thrives in the warm conditions of a well-heated home at Christmas.
So it’s not just that seasonal, alpine aroma that I’ve brought into my home. It’s a mould infestation!!!!
Actually. Wait. Sniff again. Smell that?
Yes, I thought so too. It smells like a product liability claim doesn’t it?
Well, would you Adam-n-Eve it?
And I thought the only risk would be slipping over on a bauble, tripping on a length of tinsel or choking on a chocolate tree decoration.
Perhaps all trees should be ‘sheep dipped’ in an anti mould solution or blasted with the same stuff prior to sale. Or how about wrapping the whole tree in polythene for the duration it’s up in the house? Putting the onus on the poor consumer having to hose it down in the garden once they’ve got it home (as per Dr Kurlandsky’s suggestion) doesn’t seem quite right to me.
We put our own tree up on Saturday at Law Actually HQ. (A real one, obviously). I was surprised that of the multiple tags looped to the trunk, none included some kind of disclaimer (for the non-death or personal injury elements, anyway).