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Candle Safety Is Improving

Published June 6, 2013
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• Twice a year, leading candle manufacturers, testing laboratories and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) gather in Columbus, OH to design and improve testing methods to advance the safe use of candles. The Spring 2013 meeting centered on topics including ensuring accessories are fire resistant, testing coatings and paints used on candles, and understanding how long consumers are likely to burn a candle each time they light it.

The safety initiative began in the late 1990s when the growing popularity of candles had the unintended consequence of increasing home fires attributed to candle use. The National Candle Association (www.candles.org) prompted its membership to get involved, using the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as the structure to create voluntary consensus standards for safe product. Ohio manufacturers including Renegade Candles, Lumi-Lite, Root and Candle-Lite; SEA, a testing laboratory; and national retailers Bath & Body Works, Yankee and Pier 1 are among the members of the taskforce chaired by Jim Becker of Candle Solutions.
As a result of the work of this team, standards were created for labeling and testing candles that have been successfully rolled out to and used by the candle community. 

“Using proven methods to test product performance is key in developing products you are confident are safe,” said Bob Moss of SEA Labs. Candle-related home fires have dropped 49% from a high in 2001, as candles increasingly are better labeled with safe use instructions, new safety testing guides manufacturers in developing candles that burn consistently against defined standards, and the raw materials and accessories must now be appropriate for use near a flame.

“US manufacturers that belong to the National Candle Association signed a pledge to leverage these standards in making safe candles, and the association is now offering webinars to retailers and importers to educate them in doing the same. Consumers who use candles may have noticed the improved safety efforts,” said Kathy LaVanier of Renegade Candles.

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