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  QUESTION: Do Glade or Yankee candles have lead wicks? 19 Jan 2005, Massachusetts USA

I am questioning black soot in my home due to Glade or Yankee Candles. I have soot everywhere in my new home and it is getting worse. I just moved in my new apartment with my roommate on November 15 and of course wanted it to smell nice so we bought those glade plug-ins and Yankee candles. I have used Yankee candles for as long as i can remember and never had this problem, till glade candles started being used. My house is covered in soot from the bathroom to inside of my fridge. I need to know if this is caused from lead in the wick or from the candle itself. I am afraid this will be hazardous to my health and breathing as I have asthma. I have contacted Glade and Yankee Candle and waiting for a return phone call. I will go home tonight and clean my home from top to bottom, but am still worried about this problem.

ANSWER: 23 Jan 2005

Dear Madam,

I don't know the answer to the question "Do Glade or Yankee candles have lead wicks?" although the US Consumer Product Safety Council banned lead wicks in US or imported candles sold in the US as of October 2003 [see CPSC Bans Candles With Lead-Cored Wicks ] but noted: "Because consumers cannot tell if a metal-cored wick contains lead or an alternative, consumers may wish to contact the retailer for information about the materials used in their candles." So you have done exactly the right thing by contacting Glade and Yankee. Hopefully by now you have already heard back from them. If the candles you have burned in your home contain a metal core in the wick (you can pierce the wick with a sharp needle to confirm whether there is a metal core inside the wick) and you were not contacted by Glade or Yankee or you weren't happy with their response, then I suggest you report this potential hazard. "To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at"

I'm no candle expert but from the research I did to write our lead candle wick factsheet I gleaned two other bits of useful information:

  1. candles shouldn’t create hazy smoke when they burn and probably need the wick trimmed if they do;
  2. if you care about your health, you wouldn't burn aromatic candles at all, with the exception of bees wax candles. You have certainly got the right approach by cleaning up the soot and I hope you find the answers to ensure that your future candle-burning is safe.

Whenever you think you may have breathed in lead fumes or ingested lead dust, the surest way to know whether you have or not is to ask your doctor for a blood lead test.

All the best with your new home.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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