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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Lead poisoning: Are your candles ruining your health?

Updated: Feb 15

Emma's Story

I love low light.. the lower and more ambient the better. I had my house rebuilt recently and requested that no down-lights were put in. The designer said, ‘yes but normal people actually use their light switches.’

She has a point but I am a fan of low wattage lamps and as many candles as I can squeeze onto tables, window ledges and floor lanterns to illuminate the room. I have tea lights constantly going in my many oil burners, always a scented candle in the bathroom, many more church candles of all shapes and sizes in the lounge. At night I even have them by my bed to ease me into sleep. I reckon I spend at least $20 a week on them.

I burn them at my Scandinavian retro design store Skandi during the day and at night when working late. During my time living in Copenhagen I picked up the habit of lighting candles at breakfast and this I have been doing during the recent Wellington winter. I take them camping.. when I got to the summer house and even long weekends and for work travel and hotels if I know there is going to be a bathtub within reach!

It’s a ritual - get home, make up off, music on, candles illuminated all to help ease the day away.

But my obsession with ambient light and the soft glow of candles to calm the mind it seems has been doing much more harm than good.

A recent hair sample taken and analysed in the US shows I am off the dial with lead poisoning.

Images above, from Emma's tissue mineral analysis, show lead is off the chart, along with elevated "companion" toxins such as cadmium, cobalt, rubidium, tin and titanium. These have numerous detrimental effects within the body

Sitting with Gary who give me the prognosis was a shock. All my issues with hair loss, depression, insomnia, irritability, fertility, brain fog and a telephone book of other issues was down to lead.

He put a question to me; ‘you must be doing something every day to cause such extreme levels of lead in your system.’

I racked my brain. And then it came to me - you know when you just know? That tingle in your gut that says your intuition is bang on. I had read the report issued with the hair analysis and one small line in a 20 page report listed a few potential lead infused items.

‘It’s the candles”, I said.

A trip to the local paint shop to get a lead test confirmed it. Some candle makers use metal-core wicks because cotton wicks are often limp and fall over into the wax, extinguishing the flame. I had no idea but further research shows hundreds of stories from people who are suffering from lead poisoning, law suits and class actions.

I am shocked that something so innocent and often touted as healthy, given the aromatherapy movement, is potentially deadly. I just want my health back and for now am staying away from all candles but there are alternatives. Cotton or hemp wicks are considered to be the safest. Another good choice are candles made from beeswax or soy wax. Avoid paraffin.




Emma, thank you so much for your story. Your story will help many others. Thank you!

I once naively believed that the banning of lead from paint and petrol had solved the problem and also thought the main health issue was with children's brains. Since doing tissue mineral analysis for the last 15 years, I continue to be shocked at the number of cases of lead contamination, sometimes affecting entire families and the long list of health issues that present with lead as causative factor.

Sources of lead contamination are astonishingly varied: they include enamel bath tubs, imported lipstick, hair dye, aviation gas, renovating an old house, or inhaling smoke while fighting a fire. Just about every person who owns a gun, or the adult who once had a slug gun as a child will show traces of lead, sometimes off the chart. There are few builders, engineers, mechanics and farmers that have not been exposed to these awful toxins. Some of the worst cases I've seen are hair-dressers.

It takes only one exposure to ruin a life; such as eating a duck that was cooked with a lead pellet still in the body.

Test then act!

Know what you are dealing with! If you suspect you, or a loved one, have been contaminated by toxic elements, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic or mercury, the first action is tissue mineral analysis. Do not act blind - that's crazy! For example; if you think your amalgam fillings are giving you mercury poisoning, get tested before spending thousands of dollars getting them removed. You may be wasting your money! Test then act!

Getting lead and other toxic elements out of the body is best done gently without harsh chelation chemicals. We do this with special nutrients, that are selected depending on what the test shows up. It takes time but the long term benefits are always well worth it.

What about getting a blood test for heavy metals like lead?

Blood tests for toxic elements are handy because they may show if you are still being exposed to the toxin.

If you are wondering why previous lead exposure will not show up on a blood test, this is because the body can not allow these toxic elements to remain in circulation: what can not be immediately excreted is sequestered in the bones, the liver and fat (fat includes the brain!). A blood test is only valid during the first week or so of contamination and is not of much use if that contamination happened long ago, often decades ago. Traces, on the other hand, will show in a hair tissue sample, or there will be indicators of past contamination, such as abnormal patterns to do with calcium, for example. For me, tissue mineral analysis is the Gold Standard for detecting toxic elements.

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