Are Candles Bad For You? Learn The Truth!
Candles smell great, they make a room inviting, and frankly I don’t think anyone really thinks twice or even at all for that matter that some may be bad for you. Are candles bad for you? Well crazy enough, this is actually a yes and no question. There are ingredients in some candles that can make them be considered bad for you, and when these ingredients are burned they release harmful chemicals in the air, but not all candles!
Today we’re going to go over what ingredients are considered bad within a candle and what the better ingredients are that you should look for when purchasing a candle!
Let’s get something out of the way before we get too in depth! Anything that is burned and in exchange releases smoke, is bad for you, and that’s the unfortunate truth. Even with something as simple as a candle, as the wax melts and releases fumes into the air, it diminishes the air quality around you and that’s that.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your candles, it just is what it is! The fumes released by a candle aren’t enough to harm you when used now and then, it’s more of when you either use multiple candles (usually a low quality candles) for long periods of time or if you use candles with lead-based wicks that someone should be worried if it might affect their health.
In a few cases, some candles that contain volatile organic compounds have been linked to not only breathing issues, but in some extreme cases serious damage to vital organs including the kidney and liver.
Lead The Way
Many people don’t know this but years ago, multiple candle companies candles had a significant amount of lead found within the wicks of the candles. After word got around about it, people started talking about the health end of it and once it became apparent nobody enjoyed the thought of having lead in their candles, something you’d obviously be breathing in! So most candle companies decided to take the lead out of their wicks and use an alternative, although it’s found that up to 8% of candle companies still use lead in their wicks to this day because of how cheap it is and its accessibility.
The reason why candle companies use lead in their wicks in the first place is to make the wick a bit more rigid so it’s easier to assemble, it also helps the candle to continue burning since as the wick burns the lead will continue heating slightly below the waxes surface.
A candle wick is made up of cotton, which is quite flimsy. What candle companies will do is run a thin lead-based wire through the middle of the cotton wick, so as the wick burns, so does the lead thus releasing toxic fumes into the air you breathe. You want to try to make sure the candles that you buy have a 100% cotton wick.
What About The Kids?
One of the biggest concerns of lead-based candle wicks is how they may affect your kids as well as your pets.
Candles that contain a lead-based wire can emit up to 500- 1000 micro grams of lead per hour! About 1 micro gram of lead per cubic meter of air is roughly the maximum amount that an adult, especially a child should be exposed to! Even worse, as the wick burns, the leads goes into the air and settles as particles throughout your house. Over time this can lead to enormous amounts of lead throughout your household which is definitely not good.
Pregnant women should be extremely cautious to not be in rooms with candles that have a lead based wick. Even small amounts of exposure of lead to an unborn baby can result in I.Q loss, breathing issues, behavior problems and learning disabilities. In some cases even miscarriages.
Lead exposure is dangerous and very toxic so if you are unsure of a candle you are wanting to purchase contains a lead-based wick or not, you can always call or email the candle company and they will be more than willing to tell you as they are required to,
Different Types Of Candles
Paraffin Candles– Paraffin candles are the most used types of candles to make as they are also the cheapest to make. This doesn’t make them low quality at least most of them, it’s just a cheaper route. Unfortunately this type of candle is the one that releases the volatile organic compounds so just be weary of that!
Vegetable Wax Candles– These candles are made from a vegetable oil and are generally not only seen as healthier for you but also for the environment as they are derived from a renewable crop. With a vegetable wax candle you want to make sure the oil (whether palm, soy, etc.) is from an organic source as to have a “purer” wax.
Beeswax Candles-. Beeswax candles come from the same wax that bees actually use to make their beehives! In my opinion, beeswax candles are the best in terms of how good the wax is for you. It’s all natural and even has a natural sweet scent to it. Just make sure the beeswax candle isn’t mixed with any other wax as some companies do to lower the cost.
Again whichever type of candle you prefer and you end up choosing, always try to make sure the candle wick is made up of 100% cotton!
The Truth Revealed!
Whether a candle is harmful or not is dependant on the company you decide to get your candle from and their practices. Candle companies decide for themselves which wax they would like to use and unfortunately lead based wicks isn’t heavily regulated in the U.S, most companies only try to stray away from lead-based wicks to keep their customers since they know people don’t want to buy candles with lead in them. Cheap candle companies will still use lead in their wicks though especially if they source their candles from China or Hong Kong since there aren’t any regulations on candles there.
Candles were made to smell great and keep your house smelling amazing! Just make sure the candles that you love, aren’t harming you in the process!
If you have any questions or would love to share your thoughts with lead-based candles I would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!