VOTE Food For Thought
"Truth Is What Matters"

© copyrighted

Updatde February 14, 2001
by columnist
David Lawrence Dewey
"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."

Previous Columns
DL Dewey's Consumer Alert - © copyrighted
Lead in Wick Candles

Updated - February 14th, 2001 consumer alerts

UPDATE 2-14-2001

Finally, Federal regulators at the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 2-1 on Tuesday, 2-13-2001 to ban candles that have lead in their wicks because of the risk that consumers, especially young children might inhale poisonous fumes or touch toxic lead dust on furniture. The ban will go into effect later this year.

I have been covering this story for nearly three years, centering around Cathi Flanders and her battle to have these candles banned. It was from Cathi's own ordeal of her and her family of being poisoned from lead in the wick in candles that she began her battle to protect others. It has been largely Cathi's efforts that brought this to national attention and consumers owe her a huge "thank you". Her efforts will now protect millions, especially children from permanent health damage from this.

Candles with lead were showing up on store shelves and being burned in homes across the country despite a voluntary 1974 ban by U.S.-based candle companies, the commission said. Most of the candles with lead were imported from overseas. American candle manufacturers produced about 700 million pounds of candles in 1999. 445 million pounds were imported, a third of which came from China. China has no policy on lead in candles.

Testing found that some of these candleds released up to five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children younger than 6.

Many candle companies use metal, usually zinc or tin, to give wicks a support as they burn. My suggestions to consumers is to throw away all candles with metal cores. Consumers can tell if a candle wick has a metal core by looking at the top of the wick or splitting it apart. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can cause a variety of ailments, ranging from lower intelligence and learning disabilities to seizures and death.

Most candles with lead were and are sold by foreign companies, which are doing better business than ever because of a boom in the candle industry.

A recent study by the consumer group Public Citizen found about 3 percent of the candles purchased from retail stores in the Washington area contain lead.

If you would like to read more about the details of this serious matter that has now been put to bed so to speak with a ban and how the Gap was selling candles with lead in them, please continue. And if you get a chance, send an email to Cathi Flanders at thanking her for her efforts. We all owe her a big thank you!

UPDATE 9-14-2000
I have been covering this story about lead in wick candles for nearly two years. Cathi Flanders has been the leading consumer champion in trying to bring this serious health problem to light, based on what happened to her and her family's health. Please contact Cathi Flanders at for the most recent updates regarding this serious health problem to children and adults. Throughtout this update page, there are links to various sites that provide in depth reports regarding this serious problem. Be very careful during the up coming holiday season. Make sure that the wick in the candles you are buying do not have lead in them. Make the store give you a written statement that the wicks in the candles do not have lead in them.
UPDATE - June 5th, 2000
Petition with CSPC to Ban Lead Wicks In Candles

The Public Citizen & Health Research Group has filed a petition to issue a legally mandatory ban and recall on the use of lead in candle wicks. I'm hoping to enlist your help by counting on your comments in writing in support of enacting a legally mandated ban of lead in any and all candles made or sold in the U.S. This is an action that is immediately necessary and attainable - but the deadline on June 12th is quickly approaching. If you are active in other environmental & public health advocacy groups or keep in contact with people that would support this. Tt would be so appreciated if you could circulate this with some of the groups you associate with. We need all the support we can bring together. This is truly a case of every letter counts or they will and fully intend to sweep this again right under the rug with another unenforceable, voluntary and basically meaningless, ban. Clearly this is not in the best interests of the safety and welfare of consumers, their families & especially their children by not setting a ban on wicks that contain lead in candles.

An EPA study performed in 1974 determined that, "Burning only two candles three hours each day on a regular basis in the home could increase exposure to airborne lead by a factor of 5 or more. This exposure to lead from candles could equal or exceed the exposure to airborne lead associated with the busiest freeways in America." [keep in mind this was a time when leaded gasoline was still fairly commonplace]. "Inhabitants of homes in which lead wick candles are burned could be exposed to substantial incremental quantities of lead which, if continued on a regular basis would pose a significantly high risk to health especially among children." Mr. Train, the EPA Administrator at the time stated, "In my opinion candles represent an unnecessary incremental source of lead that can readily be controlled. It is my strong recommendation that the Consumer Product Safety Commission do all in it's power to prevent exposure to the substantial and unnecessary source of lead in candles."

And yet, the CPSC still has not issued a ban after over 25 years. We will have to wait another 25 years before they do? Not if you will write in, fax or email your agreement that an immediate ban should be put in place. Please do this today, time is running out, June 12th, 2000 is the deadline. The CPSC did not give much time.

Please send your letters to:
Office of the Secretary
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Washington, DC 20207
telephone (301) 504-0800

OR delivered to:
Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission
room 502, 4330 East-West Highway
Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

Comments may also be filed by
Fax (301) 504-0127 or
email to:

Here is the website where you can view the petition at the CPSC:
Petition HP 00-3
Requesting a Ban of Candle Wicks Containing
Lead and of Candles Containing Such Wicks
Comments accepted until 6/12/00

Do it today! You will be insuring that no one, especially children who can die from lead poisoning will never be exposed to candles that have wicks containing lead

If you would like additional information on this issue, please email Cathi Flanders at,

For more information on this matter, read the updates below.

UPDATE - Feb. 24, 2000
Millions of Dangerous Candles Sold Throughout U.S.
Lead Wicks Pose Major Safety Hazard, Especially to Children

I first began reporting on this very serious health risk in October, 1998 with a story about Cathy Flanders and her families permanent health damage caused by lead wicked candles. Now, we are finally getting somewhere. If you care about your health and the health of your children, then read this update.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A significant number of dangerous candles are on the market that have wicks containing lead, which, when burned for three hours, can lead to average air lead concentrations ranging from nine to 33 times higher than recommended by federal guidelines, a Public Citizen study shows.

The study, conducted by Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, examined candles purchased in the Washington/Baltimore area from stores, many of which are part of national chains. If the prevalence of candles with lead wicks found in the study is representative of the percentage of lead-wicked candles available nationwide, people are purchasing millions of candles a year that can cause lead poisoning in thousands of children and possibly adults. The dangers of these very high levels of lead in the air are compounded by the presence of lead dust from the candles, which can accumulate and be ingested by children.

High air lead levels can easily elevate children’s blood lead levels above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s and the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s (CPSC) recommended ceiling. There is evidence from a large number of published studies that children with high blood lead levels can suffer significant damage to their central nervous systems, resulting in permanent deficits in intelligence (decreased IQ), abnormal development and abnormal behavior. There is also some evidence that even lower blood lead levels in children can be dangerous.

As a result of the findings, Public Citizen is petitioning the CPSC to immediately ban and recall all candles with lead-containing wicks, candles in metal containers that contain lead, and wicks sold for candle-making that contain lead because they represent an imminent public health hazard. Continued sales of these items violates provisions of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act, Public Citizen contends.

Public Citizen in 1973 petitioned the CPSC to remove candles with lead-containing wicks from the market. However, in 1974, in lieu of a ban, the candle industry and the CPSC arrived at a voluntary agreement to immediately stop making candles with lead-containing wicks. Public Citizen’s Health Research Group conducted the survey, however, because of reports that these candles were once again being sold.

"Unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately bans and recalls these candles, it will repeat the reckless and dangerous mistake made 26 years ago in trusting the industry to take care of the matter on a voluntary basis," said Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. "How many more children will suffer lead poisoning before the CPSC fulfills its legal mandate to rid the country of this completely unnecessary source of lead poisoning? If the CPSC does not immediately ban and recall these dangerous products, we will seriously consider bringing legal action against the agency."

In the study, Public Citizen examined 285 candles in 12 area stores. Of those, 86 had metallic wicks. Surveyors purchased one of each type of candle with metallic wicks and had them analyzed by a certified laboratory to determine lead content. Nine candles -- three percent of all candles and 10.5 percent of candles with metal wicks -- had wicks with high amounts of lead, ranging from 33 percent to 85 percent by weight.

Similar studies conducted in Michigan and Florida in the past two years also found that candles with lead wicks are readily available on the market.

One country, Australia, recently tackled this problem. In September 1999, Joe Hockey, Australian minister of financial services and regulation, ordered a ban of all candles with wicks containing lead. He recognized that "Public health experts have confirmed that lead emissions from any source pose an unacceptable public health risk and can result in increased blood lead levels in unborn babies, babies and young children. . . . Public health experts have confirmed that the candles pose a risk to public health if burned in a confined space."

In 1974, Russell Train, then administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stated that "Inhabitants of homes in which lead-wicked candles are burned could be exposed to substantial incremental quantities of lead which, if continued on a regular basis, would pose a significant risk to health, especially among children with already elevated lead body burdens. In my opinion, candles [with lead wicks] represent an unnecessary incremental source of lead that can be readily controlled." He is still correct, Wolfe said.

Wolfe strongly urges all people who have candles with metal wicks -- obvious by looking at the tip of the wick and seeing a metal core -- to return them to the stores where they were purchased for a refund. Because more than one out of 10 of the 86 candles with metallic wicks that we purchased and analyzed contained significant amounts of lead, it is risky to burn any candle with a metal wick unless one is certain it does not contain lead, Wolfe advised.

Howard Sobel, M.D., M.P.H., a resident in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins, is working with Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and was the coordinator and principal author of the study and the petition to ban these products.

UPDATE 11-20-99
A Special Note From David Lawrence Dewey

I have been covering this story about the dangers of lead in candles for sometime, following Cathy Flander's battle from the start so that other consumers would not be exposed to dangers of lead in candles. Recently, the major news media has jumped on the bandwagon, including the American Lung Association. I have also been following the postings in the various newsgroups. Recently, because of all this media attention, much abuse has been directed towards Cathy Flander's in newsgroup postings. It is apparent that those posting these attacks against Cathy are store owners that are upset because they are stuck with candles they don't know if they will be able to sell during the holiday season. I can understand their concern. Some ofJuly these posts also are evidently from those in the candle manufacturing business attempting to make Cathy look like a nut. I can assure you, she is not a nut, and there is a real danger.

What I find so ironic about all this is that there is a very, very simple solution. Here are my thoughts. All that store owners that have a supply of candles need to do is simply contact the manufacturer of the candle. Demand an affidavit from the manufacturer stating that the candles are lead free. This affidavit could then displayed next to the candles and this should resolve the concern. If the manufacturer will not provide the business owner selling the candles such an affidavit, then if it were me, I would pack those suckers up fast, return them to the manufactuer and demand a full refund including shipping charges back to them. As far as major discount stores selling candles, if they cannot provide such an affidavit that the candles they are selling are lead free, I certainly would not take the risk in puchasing them. I am sure there are a some candle manufacturers in the United States that do manufacturer lead free candles and there should not be a problem with these candles. It will be interesting though to see how many candle manufacturers will provide such an affidavit. As a matter of fact, if any candle manfacturer will provide such an affidavit to me, I will verify it and post it on my website for consumers to view.

My question during all this has been this all along. Where was the Consumer Protection Agency and EPA been in all this. It appears most of the candles and wicks concerning this issue came from or were manufactured in China and Mexico. There is an argument that some U.S. manufacturers of candles were sold wicks that contained lead without them knowing it. However, if this is the case, they should have known by testing the wicks themselves. We are talking about a very serious health risk here. The thing is, the ball was dropped. Cathy Flander's picked it up, threw it back into the laps of the candle manufacturers, the EPA, the Consumer Protection Agency. The simple truth despite what anyone wants to argue is the aforementioned got caught and they don't like being exposed. The manufacturers or suppliers of candles got caught selling candles they should not have been selling. The EPA and the Consumer Protection Agency got caught because they should have caught this before it reached the consumer and caused harm. So before anyone startes pointing a finger towards Cathy Flander's, I strongly suggest that you place the responsibility where it truly belongs in the first place. Very simply, candle suppliers and manufacturers should not have a problem in releasing an affidavit stating their candles are lead free. If they won't, that would be the question...why not? Isn't this the most logical way and just way to approach this controversy instead of attacking Cathy Flanders. The problem is possible lead in candles and lead wicks in candles. The question that simply needs to be addressed by manufacturers is, are their candles lead free and are they willing to issue an affidavit attesting to this?

UPDATE 11-19-99
Candles Controversy Is Finally Gaining Media Attention!

The following links are to recent media coverages of this controversy

The Plano Star Courier: Local news for the Dallas area
"Plano, Texas resident Cathy Flanders said candles played a big part of her holidays and home decorations. Now she's warning about potential dangers inside candles' gentle flickers."
Full story - Plano Star Courier - News
"...The Health House project of the American Lung Association warns that slow burning candles, particularly scented ones, can emit fumes with lead or mercury, as well as volatile organic compounds. ..."

The following are links to various stories & reports that come out in the past few months.

• The University of Michigan study just released last month:
Nriagu Study - Some Candles Emit Dangerous Levels Of Lead

• Australian study sited in Australia's Consumer Publication:
Choice - Candle danger

• American Lung Association November Press Release:
November 1999 Candles Can Create Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality: Health House Encourages Care In Burning Candles at Home, Especially This Holiday Season (November 8, 1999, PDF version) - Are scented candles damaging your home?

• National Public Radio Broadcast Living on Earth Segment 10/29/99:
A Burning Issue

• NBC & CNN Broadcasted similiar stories to this:
on the evening news: Candle Dangers

• Links to stories that appeared in last month's "CHOICE" - the publication of the Australian Consumer's Association:
Choice - Candle danger

Candle danger - Lead Wicks & How to Spot Them

•From Dr. Koop's Web site: Long-Burning Candles Can Emit Unsafe Levels of Lead

• From Dr. Andrew Weil's Web page: Ask Dr. Weil - Q&A: Downside to Aromatherapy?,2283,1608,00.html

• ENN Radio -
Is burning a candle dangerous?, ENN Multimedia -- 10/21/1999

WDIV: Hazards of Candles

• For a general overview of the hazards to property & health:
Candles and Indoor Air Quality

Links to Prior Articles available on the Candles & IAQ Site

Homeowners Soot Damage Discussion
This is a resource for homeowners & professionals who have encountered the problem of candle soot damage...what to do, who to contact, etc...many many links & contacts available here.

•Denver TV Market: 9NEWS Consumer Corner - We the People


Channel 2000 - Burning Danger
Toxic dangers in candles?

Nriagu Study - Some Candles Emit Dangerous Levels Of Lead

Scientists warn candles may be dangerous

Good Housekeeping: Good Advice From Good Housekeeping

UPDATE 10-31-99
National Public Radio Interview Concerning Lead in Candles

A Burning Issue
An Interview with Kip and Cathy Flanders on NPR Radio concerning lead in candles
Real Audio


Think candles don't emit harmful levels of lead, then read this recent study just published by the University of Michigan School of Public Health!

This can be found at

A University of Michigan School of Public Health study of candles purchased from stores in southeast Michigan shows that some candles on the market today are made with wicks that have either lead or lead cores that emit potentially dangerous levels of lead into the air. The study is by Jerome Nriagu, a professor of environmental health sciences, who examined lead emissions from 15 different brands of candles made in the United States, Mexico and China. He also examined the concentration levels of lead that lingered in the air in an enclosed space, such as a room measuring 12 feet by 12 feet and 10 feet high, after one hour and then again for five hours.

Nriagu's study showed that lead emission rates for the candles ranged between 0.5 and 327 micrograms per hour. After burning the candle for one hour, the lead levels in the air of an enclosed space were estimated to range from 0.04 to 13.1 micrograms per cubic meter, which compares to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommendation of 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter for ambient air. After one hour, five of the candles Nriagu tested emitted unsafe levels of lead into the air that measured greater than 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter.

After five hours, the lead levels in an enclosed space ranged from an estimated 0.21 to 65.3 micrograms per cubic meter. Candles produced in China and the United States released the highest levels of lead into the air.

Regular exposure to lead in this manner in confined spaces could pose health risks to people with weak immune systems, especially children and the elderly, Nriagu said.

"Lead poisoning remains one of the most serious environmental health diseases in this country and other parts of the world. It affects many organ systems and biochemical processes with the most serious sequelae often occurring in the central nervous, cardiovascular and blood systems," Nriagu said.

Nriagu's findings are consistent with an Australian study due to be published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. In that study, Mike van Alphen of Lead Sense, an independent consultancy in Australia involved in environmental lead testing, lead exposure investigations and consumer product testing, examined a single brand of candle sold in Australia. The candle he examined released up to 1,130 micrograms of lead per hour.

Studies have shown that the central nervous system of children is particularly sensitive to lead. Some of the most damaging neuropsychological effects of lead poisoning of young children include learning disabilities, reduced psychometric intelligence and behavioral disorders. These effects have been associated with chronic low-level exposure to lead and are believed to be irreversible.

Nriagu's study measured the rate of lead emission in a laboratory setting using a flux chamber. The lead released as candle fume was collected in nitric acid and analyzed by means of an atomic absorption spectrometer. In addition to measuring emission rates, he calculated concentration levels of lead in the air in an enclosed space after one hour and then again, for five hours.

"The half-life of lead in air obviously would make a difference in terms of it being inhaled. A recent study has shown that particles emitted by candles during a normal burn are sub-micron in size and should remain suspended in the atmosphere for some time. Even if a particle is deposited after only a short trajectory through the atmosphere, it adds to the lead burden in the house dust. Airborne lead represents a hazard in more ways than one," Nriagu said.

House dust is widely recognized as a primary route of childhood lead exposure through hand-to-mouth activities.

"Assuming that only 50 percent of the lead released is deposited in an area measuring 12 feet by 15 feet (such as a living room), we estimate that the loading of the lead to house dust will exceed the U.S. EPA guideline of 100 micrograms per square meter by burning one of the Chinese candles for a few hours. Our data thus shows that burning leaded candles can result in extensive contamination of the air and house dust with lead," Nriagu said.

In general, Nriagu found that metal cores in Chinese candles were made of either pure lead or lead alloy while those made in the United States or Mexico consisted of zinc or lead-containing alloys. Lead was detected in small quantities in emissions from zinc-based wicks, suggesting that the lead may be a common contaminant in the zinc, wick or wax. The levels of lead were small, but still may represent a health risk over a long period of time.

Not all candles are made with wicks that have metallic cores. The practice is primarily used with candles that are needed to burn longer, such as scented or ceremonial candles. A metal core is used to provide rigidity to the wick which provides an even and slower burn rate, and to reduce the mushrooming at the tip. Since lead and its alloys melt at relatively low temperature, a large fraction of the wick core material is volatilized as the candle is burned.

"Because it is costly and difficult to control lead once it is released to the environment and medical treatment does not fully reverse the health effects, the optimal strategy for minimizing the risk involves the reduction or elimination of exposure in various forms. This study shows that there are still other important domestic sources of lead exposure that have escaped public scrutiny and legislative control. Leaded candles were recently banned in Australia, and we recommend a similar action in this country," Nriagu said.

[Contact: Amy Reyes ] 07-Oct-1999

A Special Note From David Lawrence Dewey - July, 1999

As many of you know, I have been reporting about Cathy Flander's battle against the candle industry and the GAP. Inc. concerning defective candles containing lead that not only destroys your house, but can also cause very serious health problems. We all know what lead does to children, not to mention adults.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is now in the process of reviewing the research studies that prove Ms. Flanders's claims. Below is Ms. Flanders personal appeal concerning these deadly candles. At the end are contacts for the CPSC.
Ms. Flanders also has a website which is listed below if you want more detailed information concerning the studies that prove these candles area deadly!
I urge all of my readers to please read Ms. Flander's appeal and to also write, email, fax, and call both Ms. Toro and Ms. Brown at the CPSC to have these type of candles removed from the marketplace.

The CPSC has dragged its' feet long enough on this issue. I have already sent my letter, how about you? Please contact Mrs. Flanders at to submit your name and address to Ms. Flanders. Your name and address will listed on a petition to Ms. Toro and Ms. Brown requesting that an independent investigation by third parties should be done to determine whether manufacturers have or are still producing candles that contain lead in them.

In case you have any family, friends, colleagues or web site visitors that may have purchased or received as gifts any Gap, Banana Republic &/or Old Navy candles, please submit this form. You don't have to have incurred damage to property or self...simply made the purchase of a Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy candle. A class action certification hearing is scheduled for August 23rd. 1999. It is vitally important that this case is certified as a class action suit against the manufacturers. Please help Cathy Flanders battle concerning this for all consumers. She has been battling this case to help all consumers concerning this health problem with lead in candles.

The class attorney for this class certification is:

Keith Jensen
The Law Office of Keith M. Jensen
514 E. Belknap
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Phone: 817-334-0762
Fax: 817-334-0110

A Personal Appeal From Ms. Cathy Flander's
Concerning Defective Candles Containing Lead 7-17-99

Some of you know the particulars of how I became involved in the candle issue...for those of you who don't, let me briefly explain before I ask for a favor.

With the current "candle-craze" & increased candle burning in homes consumers & especially parents of small children need to be cognizant of the fact that emissions from some candles are toxic, carcinogens reproductive &/or neuro-toxins. But the most alarming ingredient is LEAD wire in candle wicks. Current CPSC & FDA regulations don't specifically prohibit it's use in candles. Which brings me to the point of this request...

Please consider taking a moment to write or e-mail a letter to Ms. Mary Toro & Ms.Ann Brown (CPSC Chairperson) at the CPSC to let them know that you feel a ban on lead in candles is most necessary.

Apparently back in the 70s the CPSC had "suggested" to candlemakers that lead not be used in candle wicks and it became a sleeping dog until the recent surge in candle popularity. We now know much more than we did in the 70s about the harm low level lead exposures can do, especially to children & pregnant women & their babies. There is overwhelming evidence that ANY amount of lead is potentially harmful & must be avoided in environments where children are present, especially since lead is a cumulative toxin...building up over a lifetime. Your comments as a concerned consumer, whether you purchase candles or not, could potentially influence this agency to implement policy to protect the consuming public This is a very important issue because 96% of women have purchased at least one candle in the last 12 months & 7 out of 10 households burn candles on a regular basis (according to a study performed by Kline & Co.). So you may still be exposed to the emissions in the homes of friends & family even if you don't burn them in your own home.

There is every reason to implement a complete ban of lead in domestically manufactured candles and not a single reason to continue to allow lead to be used in this way, clearly jeopardizing the health of the consuming public.

Please e-mail, write, fax or call to express your thoughts on this issue & support the implementing of a complete & immediate ban on the use of lead in candles.

This is very pressing since it appears as if a decision on this will be made in the next week or so, it's really important that comments be sent ASAP. There is a brief window of opportunity to affect government policy with a change to help protect the health of the consuming public.

Here is the contact info:

Surface Mailing Address:
Attn: Ms. Mary Toro
Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East - West Highway
Bethesda, Maryland 20814 - 4408
Phone: 301-504-0994
Fax: 301-504-0079
* be sure to cc: Ms. Ann Brown - CPSC Chairperson
E-Mail for CPSC Chairperson Ms. Ann Brown:

I know all of you are very busy and I wouldn't ask if this weren't important but it sounds as if this decision will be made in the next week or so, it's really important that comments be sent ASAP. This could be a brief window of opportunity to affect government policy with a change to help protect the health of the consuming public.

If any of you would like more information on the case or our experience with this, e-mail me privately & I'll fill you in. Or you can read this Miami Herald article that is a reprint of the Wall Street Journal article from March of this year: ARTICLE: Incensed: Damage from candles ignites crusade/ Miami Herald. BTW - sometime when you have a few minutes to spare take a look at the GAP's environmental principles.

Thanks in advance for your support & help -

Cathy Flanders

IAQ List Manager & Moderator
Fax # 781-394-8288
Personal E-Mail:

Candles and Indoor Air Quality
Homeowners Soot Damage Discussion

According to several research groups, indoor candles have the potential to create harmful soot that can not only damage your health but cause damage to electrical appliances, create soot in air conditioning ducts and other problems. In addition, some candles being placed on the market for the holiday season may contain lead and can be harmful especially to children. Ronald E. Bailey, Vice President of Bailey Enginnering Corporation has written a comprehensive article entitled, "Black Soot Deposition From Candles" detailing these hazards. This article can be viewed at Mr. Bailey's website at for a copy of this article. Another site to visit is, Candles and Indoor Air Quality, Cathy Flanders is the IAQ List Manager and Moderator and can be reached at Another expert documentating these sooting incidents resulting in property damage or BSD cases is Mr. Frank Vigil, a building science expert with Advanced Energy, Applied Building Science Team, 909 Capability Drive - Suite 2100, Raleigh, NC 27606, 919-857-9000. It also has come to my attention from sources that the Gap will be selling and has been for several years candles that contain lead that could be potentially harmful. 40 - 50% of lead that is ingested is absorbed but 100% of lead that is inhaled is absorbed. Two independent labs have found the following compounds to be present in candles are: Methylene Chloride, Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 1, 1, 1 -Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, 2-Butanone, Benzene, Tetrachloroethene, Toluene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Carbon Black, Lead, Carbon Monoxide. The lead particles in the candle emissions eventially settle on surfaces in the home, ie. carpeting. If a homeowner has a toddler or crawling infant guess what they are stirring up each time they crawl across the carpet? It has been reported to the CPSC (CPSC Product Report # H9790225A), but they have refused to act by issueing any kind of alert, consumer warning or recall. The Gap has also refused to issue any kind of voluntary recall or even place warning labels regarding lead content and emissions on their product candles containing posssible lead that could be potentially harmful. This in itself is in violation of California Proposition 65 of proper labeling of such items. I find this interesting since the following is the Gap's environmental manufacturing policy.

Gap Environmental Purchasing Guidelines
At Gap Inc., we believe that business profitability and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive, and we strive to keep this in mind in principle as well as practice. To this end, we have developed two basic tenets to guide us in our work: We will operate with respect and sensitivity to the environment everywhere we conduct business. We will encourage our employees to take individual steps to protect and restore the environment, and empower them to ensure that all company activity is in keeping with our environmental policies. Through consistent application of these principles, we feel confident that our environmental practice will evolve and mature, and that our ability to manage our own operations and influence other apparel retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers will improve. Our employees are responsible for the bottom-line results of their decisions, but increasingly they are held accountable for the environmental impact of their work.
Strategy & Policy Development
Because we believe that environmental considerations should be weighed when making any business decision, all employees are called on to shape our environmental policies. Our environmental practice is led by Bob Fisher, Executive Vice President Gap Inc. and President, Gap Division and the members of the Gap Environmental Organization (GEO). Comprised of employees from every area of the Company, GEO facilitates company decisions on manufacturing, store construction, purchasing, transportation, energy efficiency, food services, and recycling.
We do not own our own mills or factories, but are concerned about their impact on the earth. We work with clothing manufacturers around the world to see that the negative side-effects of our production are minimized. We have begun to educate our vendors about alternatives to conventional but harmful manufacturing practices, and are in the process of implementing international wastewater discharge standards for all dye-houses and laundries in our production network. We're developing strategies on using and purchasing products that have been obtained or manufactured in environmentally intelligent ways. We are also making studied efforts to incorporate into our clothing organic and recycled cotton fabrications and alternatives to electroplated fasteners and stonewashing.
The above can be viewed at

If the Gap is sincere about adhering to this policy, they would not be selling potentially harmful candles. According to Cathy Flanders at Candles and Indoor Air Quality, the Gap has refused to give the organization a list of ingredients in the candles they are selling so that the organization can test for toxic levels of certain ingredients. Why is it that the Gap is refusing this list? Is there something to hide? I strongly urge you to investigate this matter yourself by visiting the sites listed and contacting the various experts on this matter before purchasing any indoor candles for the holidays. The compounds that are in these candles, * see the list above, are toxic to animals and humans. Are you sure you want to burn these candles in your home?
UPDATE - 11-11-98 I have spoken directly with Maria Morie Anges, head of enviromental purchasing at the Gap. I have requested a list of the ingredients in the candles they are selling. I will keep you updated as to if the Gap provides this list to me or not.
UPDATE - 11-12-98 I have been informed by Liz Muller of the Gap Inc. at their San Francisco corporate headquarters that they will not provide a listing of the ingredients of the candles they are selling due to ligitation lawsuits envolving the candles. As a consumer myself, this in itself would cause me great concern about purchasing their candles if they are unwilling to provide an ingredient listing for each one of their candles that they have currently on the market at any of their stores, including the Winter Scent candle. What do any lawsuits have to do with any of the candles they are currently trying to sell?

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