The air quality testing experts at AirMD are often asked about the advisability of burning candles in the home – especially this time of year. That’s because the warm glow of a burning candle is something many people associate with the holidays, whether the candles are set in a menorah or are the centerpiece of a Christmas dinner table.
From a personal perspective, we love the charm of candlelight as much as anyone, but as a science-based environmental testing company, we know there is more to the issue than charm.
So, should you be concerned about burning candles this holiday season? Probably not, but let’s address two of the biggest possible hazards.
If you have read alarming reports about candles with lead wicks releasing harmful toxins into the air, don’t worry. Unless you have been hoarding candles made before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, lead wicks shouldn’t be a concern.
“Most candle manufacturers stopped using lead in their candles in the 1970s. Due to concerns that fumes could cause lead poisoning, especially in children, lead-containing candles were removed from the market,” Healthline reports.
Any lingering questions were put to rest in 2003, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the sale of metal cored candlewicks containing lead and candles with such wicks.
“Most modern candles are made from paraffin wax. This type of wax is made from petroleum as a by-product of making gasoline,” Healthline says.
Does burning paraffin wax release chemicals into the air that could be harmful? The evidence is inconclusive. If you want to err on the side of caution, look for candles made from natural substances like beeswax or soy.
Even if our holiday gatherings are a little smaller this year due to the pandemic, you can be sure that candles will be burning on holiday tables across the country – and we don’t think that’s a problem.
There are enough challenges to our merry making this year, and if lighting a candle in the dark of a winter night brings you comfort and peace or conjures a memory of a happier time, we say go for it!
All of us at AirMD, one of the most respected indoor air quality testing companies, wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday.