According to "Indoor Air Network Newsletter", some candles have shiny metal wicks made of pure lead or a mixture containing Lead. The lead particles emitted from a burning candle 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. Normal use of candles should not pose a health hazards, but in large amounts, candle emissions can harm the nervous system, and heart and circulatory system, particularly in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
Candles made in the U.S. no loner contain lead, but candles made in foreign countries and then shipped here may contain lead. Candles with metal wicks can be identified by looking at the tip of the wick and seeing a metal core; or by peeling back the cotton wick, exposing the metal and rubbing it on white paper. A zinc wick will leave no trace, but a lead core will leave a gray mark.
The study was conducted by Public Citizen's Health Research Group.
Click here to learn more about the study.
Update on 2/14/01: Federal regulators voted to ban candles that have lead in their wicks because of the risk that young children might inhale poisonous fumes or touch toxic lead dust on furniture. The consumer Product Safety Commission voted 2 to 1 to approve the ban, which would take effect late this year.