Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to have a ‘Green,’ Healthy and Safe Holiday

If you’re like a lot of people around the holidays, you like to decorate! And this can mean strings and strings of colored lights wrapped around a tree or your house. While these lights are beautiful and help bring about holiday cheer, they also can be costly and, sometimes, hazardous. LED string lights are becoming more common and not only reduce your energy bills around the holidays, but also don’t burn or break as easily as conventional string lights. Nothing like saving ‘green’ while being green! Many holiday lights contain lead, which is toxic to the brain and especially toxic for children whose brains are still developing. Keep small children from touching holiday lights when possible and have everyone wash hands thoroughly after touching holiday lights.

Burning candles releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor air. These VOCs are tiny chemical particles can irritate lungs and cause symptoms in people with asthma or allergies. Candles also present fire and burn hazards especially if there will be small children and pets present in your home. Instead of using real candles, consider using LED candles which give the same warm glow, without all of the fine particulate matter. They also last much longer than conventional candles and can save you money! If you burn candles for a warm holiday scent, try simmering cinnamon sticks in water on the stove instead.

And finally, a holiday tree can be a center point to the holidays. It can be a tradition from some to go cut one down and bring it inside without realizing what they’re hauling in with it. Trees, being plants, carry pollen with them which can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as ‘hay fever’. If anyone in your home has allergies and asthma it may benefit your whole family to go with an artificial tree this year!

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