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Is your Christmas tree plotting to kill you?

Like a sprig of mistletoe or a string of colorful lights, Christmas trees offer a quaint and cheery air of charm to millions of homes across the country. They're a source of happiness for families who gather around to decorate the spruce and share presents under its delicate bristles. 

They sit covered in all of the joyous holiday accouterments, disguised as just another seasonal item, carefully infiltrating the homes of millions - perhaps billions - of unsuspecting people. Few suspect these evergreen assassins before it's too late.

The fury of the fir tree
Consider the facts. The National Fire Protection Association reported that from 2007 to 2011 an average of 230 home fires annually started with Christmas trees. Those blazes cause, on average, roughly six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million worth of property damage every year. 

If you're saying to yourself "lots of things cause home fires. Christmas trees aren't any more dangerous than a power strip overloaded by new holiday toys or the faulty wiring on my string of boiling hot incandescent light bulbs," think again! The NFPA also noted that while one death is reported on average for every 142 home fires, roughly 40 home fires that start with Christmas trees result in at least one death.

That means while the average home fire results in death about 0.7 percent of the time, a Christmas tree fire results in death about 2.5 percent of the time. 

Fear the fake conifer
Some people believe a holiday inferno can be avoided by using an artificial tree. An Opinion Outpost poll showed that 70 percent of 4,561 respondents use fake trees instead of real ones.

Will the fake fir protect you? The National Christmas Tree Association doesn't think so. The source stated that fake trees are just as likely to be affected by seasonal fire hazards as real trees. Moreover, tests conducted by the Farmington Hills Fire Department in metropolitan Detroit showed that fake trees engulfed in flames can radiate significant heat and toxic smoke containing hydrogen chloride gas and dioxin.

Perhaps more diabolical than their attempts to poison innocent children and holiday celebrators, the Washington Post reported that even at conception, fake trees oppress hundreds of people. The NCTA noted that 85 percent of fake trees are made in China, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. The Post stated that most of these trees are created by migrant factory workers making just $100 per month. Many workers often use their bare hands to jam branches and parts of the fake trees together.

Even the products used to make the trees raises long term environmental concerns. The NCTA reported that most fake trees are petroleum-based, which does not break down easily after being discarded, and many families throw out artificial trees after roughly six to nine years. Environmental regulations in the U.S. may somewhat safeguard the environment, Chinese regulations allow the use of polyvinyl chloride, which is controversial among environmental activists.

While, the spruce army organizes this holiday season, stay vigilant. Some major cities are already being occupied by the ferocious fir.


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