For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals — including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic). Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
Below are XRF test results for the tree described here.
This is a faux Christmas tree that is 7 to 7-1/2 feet tall. It has two distinct types of branches (see images at the top and bottom of this post). The owner said she believes the brand was December Home and that it was a pre-lit tree purchased from a Meijer store in Lima, Ohio — either in 2017 or 2018. All tests are done for a minimum of 60-seconds each (unless otherwise noted) and repeated multiple times on each component to confirm the results. Results shared here are accurate, science-based, and replicable. This tree was definitively negative for Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic.
There is often Antimony on pre-lit modern faux Christmas trees…
I would want further lab testing done to confirm (or dismiss) concerns for possible trace (very low) levels of Cadmium and Antimony in the branches, but it looks like they are likely negative for those two metals. Overall, this seems like a good choice for a tree.
NOTE: Given this is a pre-lit tree there is a possibility (a high likelihood, actually) that the intertwined lighting cables themselves are positive for Antimony at levels above trace (at levels similar to what I have found in the newer strands of Lead-free plug-in Christmas lights), but since it is not possible for readers to send me a clipping from the electrical components of their tree without damaging it, that has to remain a speculation.
Flat needle sample (image above)
- Tin (Sn): 905 +/- 33 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 9 +/- 4 ppm
- Palladium (Pd): 10 +/- 3 ppm
- Gold (Au): 101 +/- 44 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 166 +/- 47 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 677 +/- 138 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 7,885 +/- 410 ppm
- Indium (In): 38 +/- 9 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 9,273 +/- 921 ppm
Pointy needle sample (image below)
- Tin (Sn): 1,943 +/- 72 ppm
- Indium (In): 40 +/- 10 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,485 +/- 291 ppm
Some additional reading for those who are interested:
- Other faux Christmas trees I have tested.
- Other Christmas items I have tested.
- Christmas light strand examples I have tested.
- Details about the testing methodology used for the result sets reported here on the website.
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