Candles Can Create Health Risk

Vanilla, lavender and other scented candles can make a home seem cozy and inviting for the holidays, but such candles may also be hazardous to your family's health. Burning candles, particularly the scented and slow-burning types, may release lead, mercury and other toxins into the air.

These types of candles often have shiny metal wicks made of pure lead or a mixture containing lead. The lead particles are small and may float through the air for extended periods of time, then settle on furniture and carpet where they can be touched and ingested by children, adults, and pets.

In large amounts, candle emissions can harm the nervous system, heart and circulatory system, particularly in children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. In addition, candles can produce large amounts of soot, which may damage a home's furnishings and the ventilation system. Before purchasing candles, look to see if the core is made of metal. Also, it is a good idea to keep candles away from drafty places where the wind can blow soot and toxins into the air and to look for candles made without additives, such as those made of bees wax.

COMMENT: Important information to know with the holidays coming up and Y2K preparations.

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