On the eleventh day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…11 soy candles, 10 native plants, 9 organic wines, 8 backyard hens, 7 CFLs, 6 fair-trade chocolates, 5 faucet aerators, 4 solar lights, 3 large rain-barrels, 2 new thermostats and a live…Christmas tree!
According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 40 percent of candles on the market contain lead wires inside their wicks. A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC. In addition most candles are made from paraffin which is a petroleum by-product that releases carcinogenic soot when burned. The soot can also cause respiratory problems and will aggravate those who have asthma, lung or heart problems. In 2001 the CPSC banned lead wicks in candles but did not address the use of paraffin or synthetic oils.
I have always loved burning candles yet the thought of inhaling toxins bothered me, so candles just about disappeared from my house. Fortunately beeswax, soy and vegetable-oil candles made with cotton wicks became more readily available. Once a favorite of mine, beeswax candles have become increasingly more expensive with the collapse of the honeybee colonies. Also the question of whether the pesticides affecting the honeybees is somehow integrated into their wax keeps me from adding beeswax candles to my collection. With my opposition to genetically-modified (GM) crops, of which soybeans are the most widely grown, I feel it is important to buy non-GMO soy candles or vegetable or hemp-oil based candles.
So I will enjoy the 11 n0n-GMO soy candles my green friend gave me on this eleventh day of a green Christmas and make certain to read the labels of any candles I buy in the future!