I still love candles; I just can't do scents -- it's no wonder I walked around with headaches all the time! The fact is artificial fragrances, often simply referred to as "perfume" or "parfum" on packaging, are not good for you. Period. Breathing it in for hours on end is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your health and the health of your family and friends. I've heard people say, "It doesn't bother me," as they reach for their sinus spray for the umpteenth time. Ummm, excuse me? Or they add ibuprofen to their dietary needs on a daily basis. Hint: it might be the candles and/or room "fresheners" you're using.
Okay, so there are candles scented with essential oils. That's a good start, but even they make me a bit leery. After all, are they really pure essential oils?
So I switched to unscented candles and tealights. But apparently that's not good enough either. After all, traditional candles are made using paraffin wax. Herein lies the problem:
Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct. You know that sooty smoke -- that's a carcinogen. Not only can it cause respiratory issues, but apparently, it can damage the inside of your house, electrical appliances, and ductwork. Seriously? Seriously.
Then there are those pesky wicks. Did you know any candles made prior to 2003 could have lead-core wicks? I know I have lots of old candles filling my drawers. I think it's time for a purge. You can test wicks that haven't been burned by rubbing the tip on some paper. Watch for a pencil-like mark. If it's there, it's lead. Get rid of it!
I have to admit, I'm seriously bummed about this. My husband and I just had a candlelit dinner a couple of nights ago. So romantic. So traditional. So wrong.
There is hope, however! According to Green American, here are some Natural Candle Alternatives:
- Buy 100 percent beeswax or vegetable-wax candles with cotton wicks. Look for coconut, hemp, or non-GMO soy.
- Stick to unscented of the above, or ones scented with 100 percent natural essential oils.
- Reduce soot by trimming wicks to 1/8 inch and do not burn candles anywhere in the line of a draft (think vents or open windows).
Green America has a great resource for finding safe candles from certified businesses. Just search for them at GreenPages.org.
Are romantic candlelit dinners a thing of the past for me? Not if I can help it. I have a birthday coming up in a couple of months. Maybe I'll unwrap some lovely, safe candles as presents (hint, hint).
Keeping it green in the candlelight,