Candles Can Create
Health Risk
NEW YORK(Reuters Health) - Vanilla, lavender and other scented candles can make a home seem cozy and inviting for the holidays, but such candles may also be hazardous to your family's health, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).
Burning candles, particularly the scented and slow-burning types, may release lead, mercury and other toxins into the air, the ALA says. These types of candles often have shiny metal wicks made of pure lead or a mixture containing lead, according to an ALA notice. The lead particles are small and may float through the air for extended periods of time, then settle on furniture and carpet where they can be touched and ingested by children, adults, and pets.
In large amounts, candle emissions can harm the nervous system, heart and circulatory system, particularly in children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, the ALA warns. In addition, candles can produce large amounts of soot, which may damage a home's furnishings and the ventilation system.
"Candles are fast becoming one of the most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air quality,'' notes Dianne Walsh Astry, executive director of the Health House Project, an ALA education program. "Consumers should be careful of the candle products they use, be aware of product recalls, and avoid potentially harmful candles with additives.''
Before purchasing candles, look to see if the core is made of metal, Astry suggests. Also, it is a good idea to keep candles away from drafty places where the wind can blow soot and toxins into the air. And, Astry advises, look for candles made without additives, such as those made of bees wax.