Can Hanukkah Candles Poison You?

A Hanukkah Menorah

Silver Menorah by Ladislav Faigl used under CC license Wikimedia Commons.

Petroleum paraffin wax candles, of which most Hanukkah and Christmas candles are made, contain a slew of chemicals not meant for human inhalation–especially not inhalation by small children or those of us with sensitive respiratory systems such as expectant mothers, the elderly, those with asthma and allergies, and pets.

Paraffin wax, aka petroleum paraffin, emit toluenebenzeneformaldehyde and soot. The first three chemicals are carcinogens, neurotoxins, and reproductive toxins while soot acts as a respiratory irritant and contains suspected carcinogens.

Furthermore, many candles, especially those made outside the United States though also including some made within the U.S., have metal core wicks made of pure lead or lead-containing alloys such as commercial-grade zinc (the same alloy recommended as a lead wick replacement by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Each of these substances release into the air when such candles burn.

Luckily, plenty of safer Hanukkah and Christmas candle alternatives exist which reduce or eliminate these harmful air pollutants including vegetable wax, beeswax, and olive oil lamps.

 

To learn more about the harm of petroleum-based chemicals and to find vegetable wax (including soy) and beeswax Hanukkah candles and olive oil lamp menorah cups, visit my more in-depth Squidoo page:

Keep Your Family Safe This December With Healthier Hanukkah Candles

 

Remember: Science is now finding that many man-made chemicals we’ve used for years is harmful to our health. We can’t eliminate everything all at once and will live in fear if we try to do so. I suggest taking things with stride and replacing one thing as a time as we buy new things and replace the old. Make your next candle purchase your next step.

Sources:
Healthy Child Tip 62: Not All Candles Are Created Equal
Quick Tips: Enjoy Healthy Holidays

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Renee Hoffinger on November 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Just want to say that I checked with another vendor who sells the “Organic Vegetable Wax” candles (that say “rite-Lite” on the box) and they include beeswax (not exactly a vegetable oil and something that many might prefer not to use…). Chag Sameakh!

    Reply

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