July 12, 2000

Lead Exposure From Candles

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

JAMA. 2000;284(2):180-181. doi:10.1001/jama.284.2.175

To the Editor: Blood lead levels as low as 0.43 µmol/L (10 µg/dL) in children can result in developmental and behavioral problems, including lower intelligence.1 For this reason, lead has been restricted in paint and banned in gasoline and vinyl miniblinds in the United States. However, most physicians are probably unaware that household candlewicks may still include lead as a stiffener. In 1974, the candle industry agreed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to voluntarily stop making candles with lead-containing wicks. In February 2000, we conducted a systematic survey to determine the prevalence of such candles. We also estimated atmospheric lead levels produced by burning lead wick candles.

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