Jasmine in the spring, pumpkin spice in the fall, and apple cobbler in the winter – candles have the ability to fill our home with the perfect aroma, every season! With the simple strike of a match you can create a calming environment, add to the holiday ambiance, or spread the satisfying and scrumptious smell of “baked goods.” There is simply no day that the soft glow and yummy scent of a candle can’t soothe, right?
Well, as it turns out, those sweet candle aromas that we enjoy so much – may be masking some terrible dangers.Meghan Budden enjoys burning candles in her Hoboken apartment, especially during the holidays. One morning, she lit two large fragrant candles and went about her day as usual.
Like most of us, the thought of burning candles simply didn’t phase Meghan. That is until the following day, when she noticed black spots on the inside of her nose. Of course this discovery was quite alarming, but not as concerning and horrifying as what Meghan saw when she picked up her infant.
After making this shocking discovery, Meghan suctioned her child’s nose and attempted to rinse it with saline. Shockingly, this picture was snapped AFTER Meghan had already cleaned her baby’s nostrils. She then picked up one of the candles that had been burning in order to read the label – and immediately made the frightening connection. Meghan Budden never realized something so innocent would put her family’s health at risk.
The reality is, when we breathe in the delicious and delightful aromas that candles give off, we could also be inhaling extremely dangerous chemicals and toxins as well.
Paraffin, a petroleum waste product, is used to make paraffin wax – which is found in many candles. When burned, the toxins that are released from these candles are considered to be as dangerous as the toxins associated with second-hand smoke. An even scarier thought – these toxic components are the same found in the fumes of diesel fuel. Artificial scents are most often used to create the “aroma” part of a candle, which also causes the release of additional chemicals during the burning process.
And it doesn’t stop there… a candle’s wick can be dangerous too! Back in the day, wicks were made with lead, which as we now know is extremely toxic and dangerous. However, they finally banned lead-made wicks in 2003 because of the variety of associated health problems. Green American has a quick and simple “lead test” if you are at all concerned about the candles in your home.
Aside from checking the components of your candles, there are a few other things you can do to ensure “candle safety” in your home: keep your wick trimmed to 1/8th of an inch; avoid burning candles in a breezy area which can cause a more billowy flame; only burn for the recommended amount of time (usually marked on the label), and be sure to extinguish candles immediately if you notice soot markings.
Already dreading the “pumpkin/cinnamon candle withdrawals?” Don’t fret JUST yet – there are most definitely some wonderful, natural, safe, non-toxic alternatives out there!
How about a gorgeous homemade potpourri comprised of baked apple and orange slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks? Julie Blanner has the scenty scoop.
Prefer a room spray? Wellness Mama is happy to share her pumpkin spice all natural room spray recipe – guaranteed to have you craving a big piece of pumpkin pie with whip cream!
Or if you just can’t do without the “warmness” of a candle filling the air, maybe a simmering orange, clove, and cinnamon potpourri in the slow cooker would interest you? No flame, no harsh chemicals, no danger – oh my! The Novice Chef has the soul-warming, smelly secrets.
And if you DO choose to stick to your candle-burning ways (and I surely understand), just be sure to check the label for safe, non-toxic ingredients – and burn according to the instructions.
We may love our candles, but they certainly have the potential to be a terrible danger to our family’s health if we’re not careful. Be aware, be smart, and be sure to look into “what’s in your candle.”