Posts Tagged ‘natural’

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.

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


Happy, Healthy Halloween! Treats for Kids

This is the first Halloween in four years that we’ve lived in a neighborhood with kids who may ring our doorbell Halloween evening and ask for a treat. I’m excited to see if we’ll have a dozen kids or 30 dozen, but do I really want to give my neighbor’s children candy full of artificial colors, preservatives and ingredients? No. I don’t want to spend a fortune buying each of them a full-size bar of organic Fair-Trade chocolate either. So what do I give them that both I approve and kids will enjoy?

I’ve racked my mind the last few days and have developed a list of ideas for kid, body, and planet friendly Halloween treats. Not all of them are healthy, not all of them are unique, but they’re all a little better than the conventional.

Kid Friendly Healthy, or At Least Better, Halloween Treats

Local or Organic Apples. I remember a few neighbors gave unique treats to us kids. One in particular gave us an apple. Share a healthy treat by passing out local or organic apples, the fruit of the season!

organic raisinsOrganic boxed raisins. Newman’s Own Raisins are a sealed treat that tastes as sweet as candy! So many kids love raisins, small finger foods they can shake from a kid-sized box. $31.38 for 72,

Surf Sweets Organic Jelly BeansNatural, Organic, or Fair-Trade Single-Serving Candy from Some candy makers do produce serving-sized natural and organic candy great for Halloween. carries single-serving packages of candies such as Surf Sweets Natural Gummy Bears, Sour Worms, and Organic Jelly Beans and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates organic and Fair-Trade white chocolate scary skulls, along with a slew of other candies and candy mixes—most available in bulk!

Endangered Species organic chocolate bug bitesOrganic Chocolate Bites. Endangered Species brand has a four-bite-sized individually wrapped chocolate bar. Made from organic-certified, shade-grown, ethically traded, certified Kosher, gluten-free chocolate, the company also donates 10% of profits to wildlife conservation. Hint: kids more often prefer milk chocolate! $29.41 for 64 on

Brothers All Natural Fruit CrispsDried Fruit Crisps. Tightly sealed, individually wrapped, and healthy Brothers All Natural 1/2-cup servings of dried Fuji apple fruit crisps are the perfect commercial snack for trick-or-treaters. Also available in Asian Pear, Banana, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry, and Strawberry Banana. $27.50 for 24 at

Annies Cheddar Bunnies Snack PacksAll Natural Chips and Crackers. Annie’s Homegrown makes a wide selection of better-for-you single-serving snacks. My favorite? Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies Crackers Snack Packs made with organic wheat flour. $4.59 for a box of 6 bags at Annie’s Store at

Other Consideration:

Should you pass out homemade Halloween treats? Whether or not it’s warranted, you wouldn’t trust a stranger to feed your kids razor or pin-free treats, and strangers who don’t know you shouldn’t be expected to either. If you make your own treats you have full control of the quality of ingredients. However, many parents trash treats that aren’t commercially wrapped or with which appear tampered. If you make your own treats expect a number to be thrown away (of course, a lot of commercial candy is thrown away too). One solution is to avoid trashing treats by buying treats for the neighborhood kids and saving homemade treats for the nieces and nephews.


Do you think it’s more important Halloween treats be healthy or organic, if not both?

Do you think it’s okay to pass out homemade treats?

What will you hand out for Halloween this year?

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