Amanda (a reader) sent me this artificial Christmas tree branch to test. The full XRF test results for the artificial Christmas tree branch pictured are below. Amanda told me that she purchased this tree new at a Target store in Virginia, c. 2010 – although she no longer has the box and there is not a tag with a brand or other identifying information on the tree any longer.
Introduction: Tamara Rubin is an independent advocate for consumer goods safety, and she is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for metallic toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. She uses high-precision XRF testing (a scientific method used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for metallic contaminants – including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, and Arsenic.
Test one – wire branch with “needles”:
- Lead (Pb): 193 +/- 48 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 208 +/- 114 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 213 +/- 29 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 677 +/- 47 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 3,424 +/- 424 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 9,709 +/- 557 ppm
- Chlorine (Cl): 461,300 +/- 13,000 ppm
Test two – “needles” alone:
- Lead (Pb): 23 +/- 8 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 31 +/- 5 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 119 +/- 13 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 2,967 +/- 140 ppm
- Chlorine (Cl): 179,800 +/- 2,900 ppm
Is this safe?
This level of Lead is relatively low (compared to other Lead-positive trees I have tested), but still not ideal. Items intended for use by children are required to test below 90 ppm Lead in all components. Artificial Christmas trees are not considered to be items intended for use by children and, as such, are not regulated in this way (not restricted in the total Lead content as detectable with an XRF instrument designed to test consumer goods for Lead.) I do have concerns for Leaded artificial Christmas trees to potentially shed Lead dust as they age and deteriorate, so across the board I think if you are going to have an artificial Christmas tree it is best to have a Lead-free one. Most of the brand new artificial Christmas trees that I have tested in the past couple of years have been Lead-free.
Are you new here?
For those new to my website, please check out the menu in the header of the website for more information about how I test things (and my background, etc.) On each post you can also click on any of the keyword tabs at the top of the post to find more items in that category. Here’s the post discussing the type of testing I do, and the specific instrument I use to detect, analyze and confirm metals content, and ultimately produce the resultant data for each item reported here – link.
Some additional reading that may be of interest:
- Additional artificial Christmas trees I have tested.
- Posts I have written about Christmas ornaments.
- All Christmas-related items I have tested & posted about.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
As alway, please let me know if you have any questions.