Used in just about every room of the house, candles are not just a source of lighting, but also a way to infuse warmth and atmosphere into your surroundings. Some candles are made from materials that will give off more than just a pleasant fragrance in your home, though. Candles that are made from synthetic ingredients, such as paraffin derived from petroleum, can release chemicals into your indoor air while melting. Candle wicks can be a problem, too, if they contain lead and heavy metals. Candle wicks made from 100 percent cotton are ideal because they do not contain toxic materials.
Candles are often burned to impart a fragrance, but if the fragrance comes from artificial ingredients, it simply adds to the problems of bad indoor air. An “artificial fragrance” is not just one chemical used to scent a product. As discussed earlier in this book, artificial fragrance is a generic term that is used to identify the presence of up to 3,194 chemicals that have been blended together to make a scent.
Remove any artificially scented candles, including jar candles or gel candles that are stored throughout your home. These include candles on display, as well as candles that might be stored away in a cabinet somewhere. If you are not sure if a candle is artificially scented, assume it is, since the majority of candles available for mass purchase use artificial fragrances. If you have been using artificially fragranced candles, open the windows in your home and really air the place out for at least several hours, if not for a few days.
Beeswax has been used for thousands of years and can be used in lip balms, furniture polishes, soaps, and waterproofing finishes. Beeswax candles burn brighter, longer, and cleaner than any other type of candle. The natural scent of beeswax is created when bees create beeswax honeycombs after pollinating fragrant flowers.
When buying candles, look for ones made from soy wax, beeswax, or palm wax. These all-natural waxes are gentler on your health. Make sure the wick is made of 100 percent cotton, or that the product states that it is lead-free. Look for a product made with only 100 percent essential oil fragrance.
CHECKLIST FOR DECORATING A HEALTHY HOME