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QUESTION: Re: your article on soot from scented candles: were they soy or paraffin wax, cotton wicks? 16/09/09 Victoria, Australia

Just read your article on soot from scented candles, my questions are.. the candles tested were they soy wax or paraffin wax? Were the wicks in the test candles made from cotton? They say that soy wax is a cleaner burn was that ever tested? Thanks for any insight.


ANSWER: Sep 18 2009

Dear Sir,

the article you read on our website was "US Scented Candles Study. Extract only [for LEAD Action News (LANv7n4)] Of Master of Science in Public Health thesis: CHARACTERIZATION OF SCENTED CANDLE EMISSIONS AND ASSOCIATED PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS" at 

I have attached a more complete extract (though still not the full thesis) comprising: "Krause Masters Thesis Extracts Only (Candles) [including Hazard Evaluation including Soot, Benzene, Lead, Exposure Modelling and Risk Characterization plus Abstract, Results, Comparison with Diesel Exhaust, Ambient Particulate Matter, Soot Exposure Risks, Benzene Exposure Risks & Lead Exposure Risks]

I hope you will find all the answers you seek in there. From memory the wax was paraffin wax and the lead-wicked candles may have had cotton wicks but the distinctive feature of the lead-wicked candles was that the core of the wick was a thin strand of lead wire.

The thesis put me off ever burning a paraffin wax candle again but I personally tend to believe the good things said about beeswax candle emissions rather than anything I've read that favours soy wax. Generally, minimising the burning of ANYTHING is the best policy, then when a study comes out in 20 years time about x negative health effect from y emission from burning z product, you will know that you did your best to minimise your exposure to all fumes.

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

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