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November 1, 2000

Lead in Candle Wicks—Reply

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

In Reply: Ms McDermott and the NCA suggest that consumers identify lead wicks by rubbing the wick on white paper. This is impractical if, as was the case in our survey, the candles are sealed in plastic. Moreover, we performed this unvalidated test on the 9 candles with lead wicks in our study, and 6 failed to produce the pencil-like mark.

The NCA's suggestion that most candles made in the United States are lead-free is irrelevant to consumers who do not know to check for country of origin. However, even this would not suffice; in our study, 1 of the 9 candles with a lead-containing wick was made by a US company.