Whether you light candles for bath time, loss of electricity, to make your home smell good, to set a romantic setting or just for peace and quiet, there is a lot of controversy on if conventional candles are toxic and cause cancer.
What I found interesting is there is no administration in the United States that has jurisdiction on candles like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Cancer Institute (NCI, and Consumer Product Safety Committee Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do for their particular administration. However, I was reading on Snopes.com that apparently, the National Candle Association (NCA) wrote to Snopes after they contacted them regarding the dangers of scented candles and came back with a response that basically stated that the concern was the lead in the wicks of candles that came from China.
In the 1970’s, due to health concerns the Members of the National Candle Association, voluntarily discontinued the use of lead wicks and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission formally banned them in 2003, from being imported or exported in the United States marketplace.
There are many clinical studies out there and they can be quite contradicting. So what we need to do is watch out for what ingredients candles contain. Some of them include:
- Paraffin Wax – Paraffin wax is made from leftover oil refining.
- Phthalates – Contain hormone disrupters and synthetic compounds.
- Toluene and Benzene – The Soot from candles can contain toxic chemicals that cause cancer and neurological disorders.
If you are concerned with what you are burning, always leave a door open to the outside and make sure you aren’t in a small enclosed room so that the soot won’t build up.
Look for Non-toxic candles such as 100% soy, 100% beeswax, 100% vegetable based or Essential Oil candles. I also look for wicks that are made of cotton and if you aren’t sure that they are made of cotton, you can cut them to 1/8” to lower soot exposure.