Not All Candles Are Created Equal

Photo by Idcross via Flickr

Candles are a key component of many romantic evenings.  They help set the mood while you have a romantic dinner with some gourmet food and possibly a bottle of wine.  Their pleasant fragrances calm our senses and add a touch of elegance and romance to a setting. Even a nice warm bath or a massage is not the same without the scent of candles and their warm, gentle flickering light.

Sometimes it seems like everyone is burning candles in their homes. It’s no surprise that they’re so popular.  How can we not be enchanted by candles?  They promise to fill our homes with pleasant fragrances such as rose, lavender or vanilla, while helping us to relax from a busy day of work. Unfortunately, while candles are supposed to be relaxing us thereby improving our health, some of them are actually doing more harm than good by polluting our indoor air quality.  What’s the point of lighting a candle to destress if you’re poisoning yourself?

Things to watch out for when buying candles
Not all candles produce poor indoor air quality, but some can.  Here are some things to watch out for.

  1. Avoid chemical additives: Make sure to read the labels.  Some candles may contain harmful chemical additives that may be released and inhaled when the candle is burned.
  2. Avoid metal core wicks: Metal core wicks often contain lead.  Burning metal wick candles, can result in lead being released and inhaled.  Breathing lead fumes is hazardous to one’s health, especially if your immune system is suppressed.  Instead, go for pure paper or cotton wicks.  Candles with lead core wicks have been banned in the United States since 2003 and were first banned in Australia in 1999.  However, in other countries they are still being used.  So, watch out for them.  And if you have any old candles laying around, check the wicks to see if they have lead in them and get rid of them.  If you’re not sure, you can rub the wick with a piece of paper.  If you get a gray line, the wick has lead.
  3. Avoid paraffin wax: Paraffin, is a petroleum based by-product that when burned releases toxins and soot (petro-chemicals) into the air, which contributes to poor indoor air quality.  They can also stain items in your house that are touched by the soot.  Instead look for candles made with vegetable wax, beeswax, or soy wax.  These candles burn cleaner and are non-toxic and all natural.  Just make sure when buying a candle that it is made from 100% vegetable, soy or beeswax.  Some only contain small amounts of vegetable, soy or beeswax with the remainder being paraffin.

So, the next time you are having a romantic dinner or taking a nice long hot bath, opt for a vegetable, soy or beeswax candle with a cotton wick.  You can enjoy the warmth, light and scent of the candle without worrying that it is harming your health.

Comments (2)

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  1. Rosy says:

    Cool post, Talli! I’m a huge fan of soy candles. There are the best! Thanks.

  2. Mark says:

    Interesting. My favorite scent is lavender and Sandalwood. Weird huh?

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