The fake Christmas tree you store away each year could be making you sick.

According to Men's Health, Chief Medical Officer of American Family Care, Dr. Glenn Harnett says fake trees are usually made of a synthetic plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is also used in construction pipes, toys, and medical devices.

The American Christmas Tree Association (didn't know this group existed until now) says that PVC is "not harmful," but many experts disagree. A 2004 study found traceable amounts of lead in artificial trees, and says, "PVC also releases gases known as volatile organic compounds, which are gases that can irritate the eyes, nose, and lungs."

In some cases, PVS may also contain phthalates-- recognized endocrine disrupting chemicals that can impact hormones in humans and lab animals. If you must have a fake tree, Harnett says you should take it out of the box and put it outdoors when you first buy it (I'm dead), as PVC tend to release more harmful gases when first exposed to air and as they degrade.  Als, you'll want to get rid of that tree after nine years, as that's when PVC starts to degrade.

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