QUESTION: Emission statistics for lead in IKEA candle wicks,
28 Jan 2006, California USA
I am curious if my recent purchases of candles from IKEA, a Swedish mega department store in Stanford, California exposes my 10 year old daughter to lead.
1. Candle sticks (1 inch diameter, 7 inches long).
2. "tea candle", which is candle encased in a 1.5 inch metal disk about half inch thick.
3. Scented candle encased in glass jars.
Your answer to my questions will be greatly appreciated.
ANSWER: 28 Jan 2006
There is a fact sheet available on our website dedicated to information on how you may test for lead in the wick of a candle. This page is available at www.lead.org.au/lanv7n4/L74-3.html. The following is a quotation from the page that illustrates a method by which you may test whether a candle wick has been made from lead:
"Candles which potentially have a lead wick core can only be confirmed by laboratory testing but any metal wick core is very likely to contain some lead. You can tell if there is a metal core inside the fabric sheath of the wick by looking for a darkish line in the white wick or by poking through the outer sheath with a sharp needle to reveal the metal. The metal is very fine. If the wick has already been burnt, poking with a needle you might still be able to "feel" the metal filament or you may be able to turn the candle upside-down and inspect the wick from the base of the candle."
It would be very useful for you to access the page and look at some examples of how a leaded wick in the core of a candle would look.
Looking at the IKEA US website, it appears that all the wicks in their candles are made of cotton, and are lead free and free from impurities.
A very valuable article that analyses candles in Denmark, including those imported by IKEA from Sweden, describes how the manufacturer DANLUX manufactures candle wicks for the Swedish company IKEA, one of their main customers: "2.4 Visit at the foundry of candles Danlux
To get a glimpse of how candles are produced we paid a visit to managing director Kurt Hall Jųrgensen and manager Jens Lundsgaard, Danlux A/S in Helsingųr, Denmark
Danlux has 30 employees and manufactures approx. 900 tonnes of candles per year. The candles are made of paraffin, dipped by hand, fully dyed, and have an self-extinguish mechanism. The length of the candles varies from 8 to 23 cm, and the thickness from 8 to 23 mm. The candles are manufactured in all colours with a colour content of 0.2 to 0.5%. Almost the entire production is exported. It was brought to Institute's attention that IKEA is one of their main customers.
Their raw materials come from the following companies:
Wax: Terhell-Paraffin 5803 with a melting point of 58°C and a residue content of oil at 0.34 %, from Schümann Sasol (Waxmann).
Wick: Cotton wicks without heavy metals and impurities, from Erich Henschke (Dansk Voksfabrik).
Glue: Danafix glue (self-extinguisher) made of water-based polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinyl acetate, from Dana Lim.
Colorants: Special colorants for candles, from Bekro Chemie (Mercantos). The colorants are tested according to TSCA requirements and do not contain toxic substances."
"The wicks are placed on a rack, which is primarily immersed into glue
(self-extinguisher). Then the racks are placed on a roundabout, which leads
the wicks through four phases. Phase 1 is to attach/detach and air-dry the
wicks. Phase 2 is cooling (10-15°C) in tanks filled with water. Phase 3 is
the wax tank at approx. 100°C. In this tank, the length and cone of the
candles (shape) are controlled. Phase 4 is the wax tank at approx. 66 to
70°C. In this tank, paraffin is added. The candles go through the four
phases about 24 times before they are end products. To ensure that the
candles do not bend when exposed to heating (e.g. sunlight) the candles are
finally immersed into a microwax with a high melting point. After the
completion the candles are removed from the machines and detached for
cooling before they are packed. " (page 16)
Danish Environmental Protection Agency http://www.mst.dk/English/Chemicals/legislation_on_chemicals/fact_sheets/Fact_Sheet_Lead.htm
In a white stearine candle, the source strength emission of lead in the wick
was below 0.2 µg/m3
system lead poisoning |
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