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November 1, 2000

Lead in Candle Wicks

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(17):2189-2190. doi:10.1001/jama.284.17.2184

To the Editor: In response to the Research Letter by Dr Sobel and colleagues1 on lead in candles, consumers should know that candles made in the United States today are safe. Even though the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined in 1974 that lead-core wicks do not present a health hazard, the members of the National Candle Association (NCA) voluntarily agreed to stop using lead wicks. Companies belonging to the NCA make about 95% of the candles now manufactured in the United States. The vast majority of wicks manufactured in the United States are made of 100% cotton with no metal core. Those few wicks with metal are typically zinc-core wicks. All of these wicks are safe. A small percentage of imported candles recently appearing on the market may contain lead-core wicks. However, the CPSC and the NCA have taken strong action to remove them from store shelves. The CPSC recently told retailers to stop selling candles with lead-core wicks, and the NCA supports a ban on all lead wicks.