Candles are the unsung heroes of ritual, which is arguably the foundation of well-being and personal growth. Found in yoga studios, places of worship, personal altars, and well-decorated homes, they're practically prerequisites to entering and maintaining a holistic lifestyle. What's not to love? Burning candles is an inexpensive way to shift the mood and awaken the senses through scent and sight. Although they might help you stick to your rituals, the truth is that candles could be harming your health.
The truth is that many conventional candles (much like conventional beauty products) contain toxins. A 2001 report from the Environmental Protection Agency referenced research that measured traces of lead and formaldehyde above cancer-causing thresholds, among other chemicals that are harmful to human and pet health, particularly in people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma.
That's the bad news. The good news is that there's plenty you can do to ensure that your indoor air pollution levels stay low. Here's a checklist of what to look for when shopping for new candles, plus a few recommendations of clean-burning candle brands: