The AP Sem Diaries: Christmas Special!

Jesmyn: Hi everyone! It is officially December and that means it’s time to get in the holiday spirit! Wear some ugly Christmas sweaters, drink hot cocoa, and buy all those sweet candy canes!

In this article of the AP Sem Diaries, I’ll be telling you guys about some of my Unit 1 project research. Cailin and I would both tell you about our research, but she’s been working on an interview with Mr. Rice! For those of you who don’t know, he was a Physics teacher at BT who retired last year. Go check it out!

So remember how we mentioned group presentations in our last article? Well, our group presentation- Cailin and I were in the same group- was about Christmas trees! We each had our own parts in the project to research, so here’s a shorter version of the pros and cons that natural and artificial Christmas trees have on your health. Disclaimer: This article may not be the best way to get festive for Christmas, but it’s still helpful to know!

So our research question was, “Should Americans Buy Artificial Instead of Natural Christmas Trees?” The role I played in our presentation was looking at the health effects of both artificial and natural Christmas trees. I found through my research that overall, natural Christmas trees were better for your health, and here’s why:

  • According to TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire people to keep the world a healthy place, natural trees give off oxygen and promote clean air by filtering out odors and pollutant gases in the air, and storing them in their branches.
  • A study conducted at the SUNY Upstate Medical University of New York found that natural trees contain a variety of different molds- most of which were potential allergens. This can be harmful to those who have seasonal allergies, but is especially harmful to babies, younger children, and people with asthma. However, don’t stress! If you’ve had a natural tree every year and felt no symptoms, then you should be fine. Some people may even find that the clean air mentioned above is actually good for their children or those with asthma.
  • A main reason that natural trees are better for your health however, are because artificial trees contain PVC and lead. According to the Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and is an especially toxic and carcinogenic material that is almost always stabilized with lead. The World Health Organization and Environmental Protection Agency say that lead can be especially dangerous to infants and pregnant women, as it can lead to symptoms of lead poisoning in young children and birth defects in babies.

It’s not to say that you should throw your artificial tree away, but you shouldn’t keep it for more than 6-8 years, as Christopher Gavigan, former chief executive officer of the Healthy Child Healthy World Organization, says that PVC starts to break down into lead dust over time. Also, store the tree properly so that it doesn’t accumulate dust and other particles.

You’ll notice that I mentioned where all my evidence came from. It may be annoying to write every time, but it’s important not to plagiarize, and you’ll learn how to properly cite evidence when writing a research paper. Sorry this paper might not have been the best Christmas article you’ve read- but hey, the more you know!

Write you next time and happy holidays! 🙂

-The AP Sem Diaries

Author: Jesmyn Ji


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