HR Strange But True!
December 14, 2007

Don't blame holiday stress or last-minute shopping for making employees lethargic or having them call in sick. It could be that in this instance being "green" is actually bad--it could be your live holiday tree that's causing all the harm.

Yes, those live trees and pine-bough garlands that are decorating your office ca n have a significant negative effect on indoor air quality, according to a new study by the Ameri can College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, which reports that outdoor foliage contains significant mold.

This mold can contribute to a dramatic increase in worker headaches, eye and throat irritation, sinus conditions, and asthma attacks.

The study said that the condition is compounded if the live tree or greenery is near heat vents and if the inside temperature is above 65 degrees. Normal indoor air has 500 to 700 mold spores per cubic meter, but the study found that a live tree increases this count up to 12 times.

Even worse (and yuckier), live trees can also contain something in addition to mold--fungus--that can cause invasive disease in employees with compromised immune systems.

And, taking down the tree or ditching the greens isn't an instant cure. The study shows that the mold and fungi can stay for up to 14 more days.

Source: CBS News

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