Candle Wicks

Ear candles do not have candle wicks. So why am I writing a page about wicks?

Because it’s important what’s in the air you breathe.

And after all, a site about ear candling is a site about health.

So what does this have to do with the air you breathe?

Candle wicks are normally made out of cotton fibers. But imagine a candle with a wick that doesn’t stand up. How would you even light it? Or how would the flame burn without being put out by the melted wax? This wick needs something to stiffen it so it can stand up.

To solve this, candle wicks have a metal core. This core is usually made of zinc, though occasionally paper and synthetic fibers may also be used. Zinc is safe to burn, “research shows that zinc wicks are safe and pass the EPA's air quality tests. A person would have to burn over 3,000 candles with zinc wicks for four hours a day to exceed the EPA's air quality standard for lead.” 1.

Get the Lead Out

Wicks used to have a core made out of lead, unfortunately some of them still do, (even though the US has banned lead wicks for several years and Canada has an advisory against them). When lead is burned, large amounts of lead escapes into the air and lands on surfaces, table tops, objects, even on your hand. A child in the room who is constantly putting things in his mouth is especially vulnerable. Lead poisoning is very serious; it can limit brain development and cause seizures.

Does My Candle Have a Lead Wick?

Look closely at the wick of your candle. You may have to scrape off the wax and then separate the fibers. Look for a metallic core, and if there is on, rub the core on a piece of white paper. If this leaves a grey smudge on the paper, then you know the core is made from lead. It is best to never burn this candle, if you don’t want to throw it out, you can still use it for decoration!

1. Doreen St. John, (n.d.) Lead Free Candles Lead , Retrieved January 5, 2009 from

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