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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Consumer Update

Air Date: Week of

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SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: The U.S. government is moving to ban the sale of candles whose wicks contain lead. Lead is used in some candles to hold wicks upright. Now studies have found that more than enough lead is emitted during burning to cause elevated blood lead levels in children. Children can be exposed to the lead by inhaling fumes from the candle, or by touching surfaces where the lead has settled, then touching their mouths. Many U.S. candle makers use metal to stiffen their wicks, but it's usually tin or zinc. Most candles with lead are foreign imports. The government warns that without testing, you can't tell if your wick contains lead. And it suggests that until the ban is in place, which may not happen until early 2002, consumers with young children should throw candles with metal wicks away. That's this week's consumer update. I'm Anna Solomon-Greenbaum.

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