Boy, do I wish I could go back to my Bath and Body Works days and not buy a single candle. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have touched them with a ten foot pole. I had no idea how toxic these “beautifully scented, decorated glass filled candles” were. From the fall of the pumpkin aroma to the Spring of the seabreeze, I was a sucker for all scents of every season. (What was your favorite) I gave them as gifts to my family and friends and I alway lit one coming right home from my college classes. My college roommate loved them, as well.
Scented candles cause pollution inside of the home that is considered so dangerous, that it could rival second hand smoke. I found this out 7 years ago and I stopped using them altogether. I have since found natural alternatives and I am going to start making my own (I will share the DIY for all of you.)
Toxic chemicals like toluene and benzene (which are in many products, these heavy formeldehyde carcinogens are the toxins and air pollutants that is set off into the environment. It is because paraffin, (also used in eyebrow waxing), is made from petroleum and often times it is from the last soot of the petroleum oil. It would be like taking the burnt pieces of a hot dog, so burnt that you couldn’t eat it. But would you eat it anyway? That’s the only comparison I can think of how to explain it. Why would I want to put soot into my lungs which can cause lung cancer? And these are just two of the carcinogens. There are many more that fall within the context of toluene and benzene.
As a former Hospital Administrator, we would often test for airborne chemicals. I took this process a step further in my home to see if I had anything like that in my environment. I was on the Airborne Safety Committee to ensure patient safety and I took this quite seriously as I didn’t want anyone to have any expose to airborne illnesses or any additional illnesses, especially lying in a hospital bed.
Due to having the right equipment, I used tool, a sort of a radiation tool if you will(I had this because of my profession), and it would go off whenever I would get next the candle. I thought hmmm, maybe it’s the glass jar. I thought too myself, maybe the wax is too close to the jar….Nope, I was totally wrong. It was when I would move closer to the wick of the candle that the tool would emit a high measure of toxicity. That was the only thing that I could put my finger on.
So I went to work the next day and asked my boss if it is possible for a candle wick to contain toxicity, and he said “oh yeah, sure.” So I called my Regional Team and I asked a co-worker if my wick could be made from lead. He said it was very much possible. I was so SHOCKED!
I couldn’t believe what I was ingesting over all of these years. All of this was airborne and it was embedded in my lungs, not too mention all of the toxic candle gift giving to my family and friends. I started getting nervous that I was exposing my loved ones to toxins.
According to the EPA Science Inventory distributed information in 2001 and revised in 2005, they discuss the amount of toxicity from these “so- called beauties.”
Here is what they said “This report summarizes available information on candles and incense as potential sources of indoor air pollution. It covers market information and a review of the scientific literature. The market information collected focuses on production and sales data, typical uses in the U.S., and data on the sources and quantities of imported products. The estimated total sales of candles in 1999 varied between $968 million and $2.3 billion, while imports were $486 million. The U.S. imports and exports of incense in 1999 were $12.4 and 4.6 million, respectively. The scientific literature review gathered information regarding the emission of various contaminants generated when burning candles and incense, as well as the potential health effects associated with exposure to these contaminants. Burning candles and incense can be sources of particulate matter. Burning candles with lead-core wicks may result in indoor air concentration of lead above EPA-recommended thresholds. Exposure to incense smoke has been linked with several illnesses, and certain brands of incense also contain chemicals suspected of causing skin irritation.”
Can you imagine what kind of studies are being done now, considering all of the added chemicals, dyes, pollutants and toxins?
Although I love essential oils in our home and we use them all the time, sometimes I just like to sit down with a good book, cozy pillows and blankets, with a candle burning. What about you?
It took me a LONG time to find an alternative and I was able too, just a few years ago. Since we don’t use any soy based products in our home (that’s another blog post) there were very few alternatives that I would even bring into our home.
The only brand I will use is from Diane Addison’s, Natural Candle line.
Personally, the lemongrass scent which I am in love with, is a big hit in our home. I found these at our local health market, where they have a variety of scents. The only ingredients these candles are made with are coconut wax and essential oils. I also know this because I never feel as though my lungs are incapacitated even when it’s burning by our bedside.
Don’t you want to know what is going into your lungs and blood stream? I hope this helps all of you to understand the importance of what is going into your body. Luckily when I tested the candle, it was almost at the end and that was last toxic candle I have ever burned. Ugh…it was fall and pumpkin too!!!
I’m so glad that now that I know better now, I can do better.
If I only knew then what I know now…