The bouquet of scented votive candles creates a beautiful Holiday aroma and atmosphere in a home. But watch out – there are important health considerations to be mindful of.
Scientists and medical professionals understand the serious air pollution dimension in most votive candles. But sadly consumers still do not know about it. It is a big enough issue that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its rather shocking findings on “Candles And Intense as potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution”.
EPA’s Findings on Votive Candles
The EPA report was issued back in 2001 – sadly the message appears to not be well known. Walk into any home goods store pre-holiday and you find shelves loaded with cheap and toxic votive candles. Candle sales are big business. EPA’s 2001 estimates are up to $2.3 billion back then. China is the biggest producer.
While there are labels on the bottom of the jars, watch consumers. They check out the fragrance of votive candles but few read the label on the bottom of the jar. Sadly most labels are not descriptive of the content either.
While candle manufacturers like to market their products as “clean burning”, in EPA’s tests votive candles showed Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde amounts in excess of cancer risk levels. Acrolein levels exceeded those found in cigarette smoke – CAUTION!
There are several other harmful chemicals recorded by the EPA tests as well. Lead from wick emissions was high (3% in the EPA study). The 2003 ban on lead in wicks led by the National Candle Association (NCA) is encouraging. But does this hold for foreign producers? CAUTION!
More Dangerous Toxins
Are you familiar with phthalates? The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is. What are phthalates? “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used to help dissolve other materials. Phthalates are in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays)”. Do you really want this in the air of your home? CAUTION!
Why are they allowed in candle wax? Because they are categorized as fragrances, and the food and drug administration (FDA) protects fragrances as “trade secrets”.
This means that manufacturers do not have to disclose the level of toxic phthalates in their fragrances. Phthalates are known endocrine disrupters which affect reproductive organs. This is yet one more reason why it is super important to only buy and use phthalate-free fragrances in wax.
What Does This Mean?
- Stay away from cheap votive candles. This Holiday Season make the decision to only buy and gift healthy candles. Yes, they are more expensive. But would you really want to give an unhealthy toxic brew to your friends, family, and Holiday hosts? Of course, not!
- Know of the phthalate content levels in the votive candles you buy.
Buy Healthy Votive Candles
Here is the good news: there are healthy, safe, nontoxic votive candles! A healthy candle starts with nonparaffin, and non-petroleum-derived waxes such as beeswax, palm oil, and soy-based wax. Look for phthalate-free votive candles. Producers of phthalate-free votive candles will advertise it right on the product label – guaranteed!
In recognition of such significant health issues choose ONLY healthy phthalate-free and natural wax-based votive candles. You will find them easily online. They make a great gift!
Reach for healthy, non-toxic options. You will feel so much better about giving your friends and family a non-polluting, health-supporting gift. Know for sure that your choice of candles creates happy and healthy Holiday fragrances in the homes of your friends and family!