When it comes to DIY candle making, one often overlooked detail is the type of wick you are using in your projects. With health and safety concerns over lead levels in all kinds of products, the same question is asked when it comes to candle wicks, do they contain any lead?
Candle wicks used to contain lead to upright the wick, but they were found to be toxic and harmful and were therefore banned in the European Union in 1998 and the United States in 2003. Today most candle wicks are made with cotton or other natural fibers except for some candles sold outside the US or EU.
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You may or may not have, at some point, bought a candle with a wick that had lead. Even though this is a thing of the past, this may still happen today. The good news is, the chances are actually very slim. At least, this is the case with most known brands.
Is Lead In Candle Wick Safe?
No, the use of lead in candle wicks is not considered safe. When a candle with a lead wick is burning, the heat of the flame can cause the lead to vaporize, releasing lead particles into the air along with the candle’s smoke, which is considered toxic and harmful.
When you inhale these particles, they can harm the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream. Long-term exposure to lead can lead to serious health problems such as neurological damage, kidney damage, and reproductive problems. Furthermore, lead wicks can also be hazardous if they come into contact with food or drink.
In the United States, The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of lead in wicks of all candles, including those made for household use, religious ceremonies, and decorative purposes, in 2003.
The European Union banned the use of lead in the wicks of all candles in 1998 under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS).
These regulations were implemented to protect the public from lead consumption’s potential health hazards, ensuring that candles are safe for use in homes and other settings.
Why Do Some Candle Wicks Contain Lead?
A long time ago, candle wicks used to contain lead because it made the wick stiff and helped it stay upright in the candle. This also helped the wick to draw up the wax and keep the flame burning.
However, after some time, they found that lead is toxic and harmful if inhaled or ingested. Therefore, the use of lead in candle wicks was banned in European Union in 1998 and in the United States in 2003.
Most candle wicks today are made with cotton or other natural fibers that are considered safe to use. However, some manufacturers may still use lead wicks in candles sold outside of the US or EU. It’s always a good idea to check the label or contact the manufacturer to confirm if the candle wick contains lead.
How Do I Know If My Candle Has A Lead Wick?
After reading all of this, some people might get a little paranoid. But luckily, there are easy ways to find out if your candles have lead.
- Labeling – Most candles will have a label or packaging that lists the materials used in the candle, including the wick. If the label or packaging states that the wick is made of lead or if it does not list the materials used in the wick, it’s best to avoid using or buying the candle.
- Contact the Manufacturer – You can contact the candle manufacturer directly and ask if their wicks contain lead.
- Look for Certifications – Look for certifications like UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or CE (Conformité Européene) that ensures the candle has been tested and meets safety standards.
- Visually Examine the Wick – Lead wicks are typically silver in color, thicker, and stiffer than cotton wicks. However, the visual examination can be misleading and inaccurate, so combining it with the other methods mentioned above is best.
It’s noteworthy that most candle wicks today contain healthier options, such as cotton and hemp. Instead of lead, you may find traces of zinc or tin to keep the wick upright. These materials are not toxic and considered to be safe to use as a candle wick.
What Are The Safest Candles To Burn?
Candles made from natural materials are considered to be the safest variations. These candles don’t contain any harmful chemicals. Here are a few types of candles that are considered to be safe to burn:
- Soy Candles – These candles contain soy wax, which is a renewable resource that is biodegradable and non-toxic. Soy candles are also considered healthier than paraffin candles, which can release harmful chemicals into the air when burned.
- Beeswax Candles – Beeswax candles are made from bees’ wax and are considered one of the safest candles to burn. They release negative ions when burned, which can help to purify the air. They also burn cleanly and do not release harmful chemicals into the air.
- Palm Wax Candles – Palm wax candles are made from palm tree wax and are considered sustainable and eco-friendly. They burn cleanly and do not release harmful chemicals into the air.
- Essential Oil Candles – Essential oil candles contain natural oils, making them safer to burn. They release natural fragrances into the air and don’t feature synthetic fragrances or chemicals that can harm your health.
- Cotton Wick Candles – Cotton wick candles are considered safe to burn as they don’t contain lead and burn cleanly.
NOTE: When someone tells you to use a string, you should first see what it’s made of. Because a candle wick is not the same as a string and, therefore, is not burning the same way as a normal wick would or even, in some cases, not burn at all.
In case you wish to make your own candle wicks, here is a guide on how to do so. But before you do, I also strongly suggest that you read the article on what can be used as a candle wick, as this will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Do Bath And Body Works Candles Have Lead Wicks?
Bath and Body Works candles do not have lead wicks. According to the company’s website – they use cotton or natural fibers wicks for all of their candles. Bath and Body Works also states that they are committed to making their products safe for use and follow all applicable regulations, including those prohibiting the use of lead in wicks.
It’s always a good idea to check the label or packaging of the candle. Plus, look for the information on the company’s website to ensure that the wick is lead-free. In case of any doubts, you can also contact the company directly and ask about their wicks.
Remember that even if your candle has a lead-free wick, it’s still important to burn it safely, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never leave it unsupervised.