The average American spends approximately 90% of their time indoors This means that the quality of the air in our homes and workplaces is almost more important than the air quality outside.
You might think it would be easy to keep our indoor air clean, but all too often this doesn’t turn out to be true. Surprisingly, we unknowingly fill our homes with toxins by using certain materials or products that give off particles and compounds that can be hazardous to our health.
In recent years, paints and other products have come under fire for giving off VOCs. With this awareness, we’re a few steps closer to clean indoor air, but there are other things to be aware of as well.
For example, burning candles seems very innocent, but there is some research that suggests the smoke from candles can be as bad for you as cigarette smoke.
Let's explore further and find out if your candles could be harming your health.
The Effect of Burning Candles on Indoor Air Quality
Think about this the next time you want to light up a couple of candles for a romantic evening. The candle you use could be filling the space with toxic chemicals and other pollutants.
According to this study done by South Carolina State University, plain, unscented paraffin wax candles (petroleum-based) with no dyes or anything else release a certain level of chemicals and toxins when burned. The amount released is minimal, but researchers claim that if a person were to burn candles regularly, the repeated exposure could contribute to the development of cancer, asthma, allergies, or other health problems. Burning the candles in a ventilated area diminishes the potential negative effects.
Furthermore, they also studied vegetable-based candles made from soy wax. None of these candles gave off the toxic elements, which is fabulous news for those health-conscious consumers who love to burn candles.
The National Candle Association begs to differ with the findings from the study. They say that all scented candles are backed by decades of research to ensure that they are safe to use. All fragrance materials undergo testing to ensure they do not give off toxins.
Lead Wicks in Candles
There was another danger discovered in candles which the National Candle Association got on board with decades ago. Candle wicks sometimes include a bit of metal to keep them standing up as the wax begins to melt. Some manufacturers put lead into the candle wicks to address this problem.
However, there does seem to be quite an issue with burning lead and adding harmful emissions to the air.
Back in 1974, the National Candle Association voluntarily stopped using lead in their wicks because of health concerns. Furthermore, in 2003, using lead in candle wicks was banned altogether in the United States.
However, consumers should be aware when buying candles from overseas that the wicks may contain lead. To avoid this, watch for packaging with a lead-free label.
The good news is that not all candles are created equally. Candle companies are like cosmetic companies. Some fill their makeup and beauty products full of chemicals and toxins while others seek to use natural ingredients and ensure the health and safety of their customers. While petroleum-based paraffin wax candles can cause the problems we’ve just discussed, vegetable-based candles such as those made from soy wax don’t demonstrate the same problems. Another alternative is to choose beeswax candles. Additionally, burning any candle in a ventilated area will help diminish the negative effects.
Candles from Itemerie
We’ve taken all the work out of finding safe, quality candles for our customers. The candles we offer in our store all come from a candle-making company that we have personally vetted to ensure the quality of their product.
These soy wax candles are handmade in New York with no toxins, parabens, harmful preservatives, or anything else that might make you skeptical as to the safety of their use. The soy is 100% grown in America to ensure the quality of the raw materials, as well as to cut down on shipping emissions caused by buying materials overseas.
Additionally, the fragrances in our candles are created from natural sources when possible such as botanicals and essential oils. The fragrances are 100% free of phthalates, a common yet harmful, ingredient in many scented beauty and skincare products.
And no need to worry about lead in the wicks. All wicks are naturally derived from cotton and no potentially harmful additives are used. Even though each candle gives off a delicious fragrance — from warm, rich sandalwood to sweet fig with a citrusy undertone — all are white in color. This is because our supplier holds such a high standard they even avoid adding colorants to keep the wax pure and produce a clean-burning product.
Check out our delightful selection here!