December 14, 2010

Scents of the Season

I love the scents of the Holidays!  Gingerbread, pine trees, pies and cookies baking, cinnamon, cranberry, and vanilla just put me in the holiday spirit.  I buy scented candles so the yummy aromas fill our house and add the light and warmth of the season.  What I don't love are the toxic fumes that candles produce.
Think about what popular candles are made from.
  • They are made of paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. When burned, this candle wax can be a respiratory irritant.
  • Scented candles typically get their aromas from artificial fragrances made with phthalates, which can affect the hormonal system.  They also release toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and benzene – both of which are linked to cancer) into the air. These toxins may trigger or aggravate asthma and allergies, and may cause headaches.
  • Some candles have metal core wicks made of lead or lead-containing alloys. When burned, they may emit airborne lead and present a lead poisoning hazard to young children. Lead is toxic to a baby's brain.  These candles are now banned in the United States but may still be found rolling around in drawers, and imported candles may still have wicks with lead.
I now buy soy or beeswax candles.  They burn longer than traditional candles and release less soot from the wick.  Soy candles are also renewable and biodegradable.  And the best part is they don't release any toxic chemicals into the air.  Another way to bring Holiday aromas into your house is to make your own natural scents.  Try boiling cloves and cinnamon sticks in a pot on the stove.  You can also use citrus peels, cranberry juice/extract, nutmeg, or plant or flower petals to create other aromas.  Be sure to keep it out of reach of little hands.  Poking cloves into an orange creates a wonderful holiday scent.

Hope you enjoy these wonderful holiday aromas as much as we do.

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