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Are Candles Safe?

I love candles! I have candles of all shapes, sizes and scents in every room of my home. I'm the woman at the local candle shop sniffing every single candle and calling out to her friends "Oh, you gotta smell this one!" So you can imagine my horror, my shock, my disbelief, when my neighbor told me that burning candles could be dangerous to my health! Say it ain't so!

The first stage was denial. I just refused to believe any such nonsense! Then, the doubt began to creep in. Could it be possible? I saw the signs, the soot ring on the top of my jar candles, black marks on the wall. Should I be worried, maybe I should do some research, if nothing else, to prove them wrong! Finally reason took hold and the quest began! Are the candles I'm using dangerous? Are there safe alternatives? Am I going to have to give up my beloved candles forever?

Are the candles I'm using dangerous?

As it turns out, they are. It seems most of the candles I own have led wicks in them. I have discovered that led wicks can cause led poisoning. Under certain indoor conditions, burning these candles may result in lead concentrations above EPA recommended thresholds. Furthermore, inhalation exposure is not the only pathway for lead intake. Unlike gaseous air pollutants, particle-bound lead tends to settle on interior surfaces, where young children can be exposed to lead dust through skin contact.

I also learned that manufacturers are not required to disclose lead content. www.epa.gov Okay, no more led-wick candles! Zinc is okay or try pure paper or cotton instead.

As for the actual burning of the wax being poisonous, I really don't know. I have read many reports stating they are and many stating they are not. So I started looking for candles that I could be sure would not cause me harm.

Are there safe alternatives?

This question led me to soy candles. Why are soy wax candles better? Soy wax is from soybeans, which are a renewable resource, grown here in the U.S.A.

Soy wax is a very clean burning wax and does not give off petro-carbon soot.

Soy wax does not leave soot stains.

Soy wax candles burn substantially longer than petroleum wax and more uniform.

Soy candles are non-toxic, and do not contain any pesticides or herbicides...safe for children and pets.

Soy wax candles are biodegradable and easily cleaned up with soap and water.

I did run across some safety measures that we should all use.

Do not move a burning candle, or place in a draft.

Keep wick trimmed to ¼ inch to avoid excessive smoking.

Discontinue burning when less than ½ inch of wax remains.

Keep wax free of matches, wick trimmings, or any flammable materials.

And of course, never leave a burning candle unattended!

So it seems I will not have to give up my beloved candles after all!

Shelly Platt
http://www.naturallygood.net - Products, articles, and links supporting a more natural, healthy lifestyle.

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