Survivalists always have to be on the lookout for unforeseen trouble.
An oversight of the simplest thing could spell doom when disaster strikes.
And one silent threat could be putting your entire household in serious danger.
Candles are a lighting source that has been around for centuries.
They’ve even moved from a necessity to a luxury item.
It’s also good to have a healthy supply of candles for SHTF scenarios where the power is out for an extended time.
However, candles can actually put your health at serious risk.
Some candles are actually toxic and carcinogenic.
Scented candles made with a petroleum derivative called paraffin release soot when burned.
The soot exacerbates problems for people with respiratory problems and can be damaging for perfectly healthy people as well.
Eric Johnson of the company Candleworks described the problem as such:
“Burning an aromatherapy candle made of paraffin is similar to preparing a healthy drink of fresh-squeezed juice and adding a shot of gasoline.”
He isn’t the only one who came to that conclusion.
The American Lung Association issued a public warning in 2005 on the dangers of paraffin in candles and threatened legal action against the National Candle Association.
Paraffin has been known to cause tumors in lab animals.
In addition to the severe health risks, paraffin wax can also damage your property.
Damage from soot can ruin walls, ventilation systems, and electronic devices.
Also, older candles might have a lead-core wick, which is very harmful.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, candles with lead-core wicks release five times the amount of lead that’s considered hazardous to a child and fails the Environmental Protection Agency pollution standards.
Lead-core wicks were banned over a decade ago, but if you have a cache of old candles, it may be time to toss them.
And some candles are still metal-based despite the prohibition.
Make sure you’re buying candles that are lead-free.
One way to test is by rubbing the tip of the wick on a piece of paper.
If the wick leaves a smudge that resembles a pencil mark, it has a lead core and should be discarded immediately.
While lead-core wicks have been banned, scented candles still remain, so you could still be exposed to paraffin candles.
Non-toxic alternatives to the scented candles are soy-based candles and beeswax candles.
Beeswax candles are more expensive than paraffin candles, so it’s an investment, but it’s worth it in the long run.
If you opt to go with beeswax, make sure they are 100% pure.
Some companies mix the beeswax with paraffin to cut costs, which defeats the entire purpose.
Even in SHTF situations, scented candles might have a certain appeal because the aroma can battle odors that result from living in an enclosed space, but you have to find other methods to maintain good hygiene and odor.
Candles might be the last thing on your mind when making prepper considerations, but the wrong choice can lead to some pretty harrowing outcomes.