Upon retiring to bed each evening for weeks, Mark was repeatedly alarmed as he experienced shortness of breath, heart palpitations, extreme weakness, and pressure in his chest. One evening, he was so concerned that he went to the emergency room of the local hospital where he was diagnosed as having panic attacks. Mark could not understand the diagnosis because he did not sense any anxiety or concerns that would precipitate in panic attacks. He left the hospital continuing to question why he was experiencing these symptoms.
One evening as Mark retired to bed, he noticed the four wick scented candle burning on his night stand as it normally did, he wondered if there might be any connection between the scented candle and his symptoms. At that point, he put his head closer to the candle and inhaled the smoke to see if he would have a reaction and immediately the symptoms manifested very strongly. Mark and his wife immediately proceeded to rid their home of the candle in their bedroom and others around the house. Mark’s alarming physical symptoms disappeared.
As you festively decorate your home during any Season, bring ambiance, tradition and warmth to your family with the natural glow of candles. When choosing candles to burn in your home, carefully take into consideration that not all candles are made the same and some candles may be exposing your family to a toxic and unhealthy environment. According to the American EPA, certain candles when burned release carcinogens (cancer causing agents) such as benzene and toluene into the air and are toxic when inhaled. These toxins will also settle on surfaces in your home. Candles made from paraffin, which is a derivative of petroleum wastes, create both smoke and soot which carry toxic substances. One air quality researcher has stated that soot from paraffin candles contains many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel. Some paraffin candles also have lead core wicks which upon burning emit small particles of lead into the atmosphere.
There is also concern that some scented candles when burned may cause health challenges. Toxic chemicals such as acetone, benzene, carbon disulfide, carbon monoxide and many others have been cited as toxins emitted as some fragrances mix with the burning wax. If you desire to burn scented candles, make sure the candles are authentic aromatherapy candles which are scented with real essential oils.
But be of good cheer, candles can still be enjoyed without concern for toxic elements. Candles made from beeswax or soy provide a healthy alternative to potentially harmful candles made from paraffin. Beeswax does not produce toxins or soot when burned. Soy is a new substance used in the manufacturing of candles with the benefits of clean burning with little soot, made from a renewable resource, and uses no petroleum products. Soy candles are also available in many wonderful scents. Also, look for aromatherapy candles that are scented with real essential oils. Read labels carefully on candles before purchasing or ask the sales clerk for information on the ingredients. Unfortunately, candle manufacturers are not required to list hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic compounds used in their ingredients but you can call the manufacturer with your questions if the label is unclear.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR FOR IN A NON-TOXIC CANDLE:
– candles made with beeswax or wax with vegetable derivatives, with no animal products.
– candles that burn with zinc-core or cotton wicks – NOT LEAD
– check to see if candles are authentically aromatic.
HELPFUL SAFETY REMINDERS:
– Always keep a burning candle within sight.
– Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
– Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
– Trim wicks to ¼ inch prior to each use.
– Keep candles away from drafts and vents.
– Always use an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat resistant surface.
– Never touch or move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquid.