Emissions of lead and zinc from candles with metal-core wicks

Sci Total Environ. 2000 Apr 24;250(1-3):37-41. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(00)00359-4.


We measured the amount of lead released from 14 different brands of candles with metal-core wicks sold in Michigan. The emissions of lead were found to range from 0.5 to 66 microg/h, and the rates for zinc were from 1.2 to 124 microg/h. It is estimated that burning four of the candles bought in Michigan for 2 h can result in airborne lead concentrations that can pose a threat to human health. In addition to inhalation of lead in the air, children get exposed to lead in candle fumes deposited on the floor, furniture and walls through their hand-to-mouth activity. Burning candles with leaded-core wick may be an important exposure route for lead that has generally been ignored.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Child
  • Fires
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*
  • Manufactured Materials
  • Zinc / analysis*


  • Lead
  • Zinc