There is something about the soothing scent and glow from a flickering candles to warm the room.
As an adult, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was a gift card to a popular candle store.
Until I learned that not only was I filling my home with an artificial (although pleasant) fragrance, toxin were included in the fumes…
Many candles are made with paraffin or paraffin blend. This petroleum derivative is an inexpensive wax which is why it is often utilized by manufacturers.
People with asthma can have increased respiratory difficulty around burning paraffin candles and can be as dangerous as second hand smoke.
When melted, paraffin releases fumes that are similar to those of a diesel engine, filling the air with carcinogenic chemicals.
Benzene and toluene are known carcinogens that are released into the air from melted paraffin causing headaches to lung cancer.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended limited exposure to paraffin wax fumes. Paraffin fumes have been found to cause tumors in the kidneys and liver of lab animals.
In 2003, the use of lead in candle wicks were banned in the USA. The lead was used in the wicks to help them stand up straight and stiff but when lit, they release lead into the air at dangerous levels. Unfortunately, imported candles do not have the same regulations and still include lead wicks, releasing 5 times the amount (of lead fumes) the EPA considers to be hazardous. Exposure to high levels of lead have been linked to numerous health problems, learning disabilities and hormone disruption.
According to California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, there are up to 20 toxins in paraffin candle wax, including: acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene.
Allergic reactions can be caused by the synthetic scents and colors added to scented candles.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here. If the candles are very inexpensive that should be your first clue as to the quality of ingredients used.
Country of origin should also be a major concern.
Avoid inexpensive “aromatherapy” and scented candles like Glade and Febreeze candles.
Gel candles are made from the same petrochemicals as paraffin but have an added danger of their glass containers occasionally exploding.
Cheap candles from the Dollar Store are usually imported and are likely to have lead wicks.