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  QUESTION: Do 'leaded wick candles' produce the black smoke that stains candle holders/oil burners? 31 Mar 2003, New South Wales Australia

Do 'leaded wick candles' produce the black smoke that stains candle holders/oil burners? Or is it the quality of the candle that determines the black smoke?

ANSWER: 31 Mar 2003

Dear Simone,

I'm no candle expert but in my experience, you can get black soot deposits from any candle just by burning it too close to a wall, or the base of an oil container in an oil burner, etc. The only special description I have heard of in relation to the way a lead core wick candle burns that is different to a non-metal core wick candle, is that one researcher said on one such candle (out of the 40 or so lead core wick candles he observed burning) he noticed droplets of lead at the base of the wick. However, rather than looking for this (apparently rare) attribute of lead core wick candles, you should use the "poke the wick several times with a sharp needle to see/feel if there's a metal core inside the wick" method to determine if there's a danger your candle fumes might contain lead. Also see the attached photos of lead core wick candle wicks so you know what you are looking for.

The Victorian government recently seized a load of these banned imports (lead core wick candles) that were on sale at Klint's Crazy Prices - so beware!

Good luck
Yours sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Also see: Banned: Leaded Wick Candles

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