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Home Ec: Candles: The Toxic Truth, Safer Option, Beeswax Candle DIY

Candles are a lovely way to add a celebratory feeling to a birthday, chase a little of the dark away during the holiday season, or grace a dinner table. Unfortunately, most candles release toxins into the air and, then, into the body of your family.

Regular candles are made of paraffin wax which is basically the toxic remains of a barrel of oil, when burnt it releases potential and known carcinogens. Candles can also contain fragrances that emit neurotoxins. Many wicks are made with a lead core: 40% of candles sold according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These lead cores can release five times the amount of lead considered the threshold for children. If that isn’t depressing enough, candle manufacturers aren’t required to reveal their ingredients. The Environmental Protect Agency and the Canadian Lung Association both caution that candles can be an indoor air quality hazard.

There are safer options and ones that you can even make yourself

  • 100% Beeswax candles with pure cotton wicks (beeswax is relatively expensive so make sure that they aren’t mixing the beeswax with paraffin)
  • 100% food grade oil candles (such as soy, hemp, or even fish oil candles)
  • If “fragranced” only done so with pure essential oils
  • And you can make your own beeswax candles too the easiest way is to just get a beeswax sheet and roll the candle (my kids do this in Kindergarten) or you can melt the beeswax and dip a cotton thread into it

Get what you need

Visit the Green Mama astore to browse amazon for Green Mama Approved candles or candle supplies to make your own.  Here’s a nice DIY tutorial to help learn how to do beeswax candles by dipping the wick into the beeswax. The other way is to roll sheets of beeswax and that’s a cinch and easily explained in the instructions when you buy the supplies.