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Is the lead from the candle wick or the paint? A letter and petition has been sent to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission by the National Multi-Housing Council asking for the Federal agency to outlaw candles that have lead containing wicks.

When the candles burn, the wicks give off gas lead particles, which then settle on walls and in lungs. "[ldots]not only is the lead in its aerosolized form likely to pose a significant poisoning potential for children but the lead particles which will ultimately settle out as house dust, will pose a second source of exposure to residents of homes in which these candles are used," states the letter signed by Eileen Lee, Ph.D. and vice president of environment for the NMIHC.

Research done on these candles by an Australian researcher and published in the Science of the Total Environment calculated that daily exposure to three hours of candle burning in a poorly ventilated room where children spend 80 percent of their time indoors is likely to elevate their blood lead levels by a minimum of 24 to 40 ug/dl, and could "readily" exceed the current standard for lead poisoning of 10 ug/dl from candles burnt once a week.

"We can't tell people they can't burn candles," said Lee. "We're not saying the residents are at fault." But she says, a mid-1970's agreement between the CPSC and US candle manufacturers to ban the lead wicks is not being enforced, while wicks from other countries, notably China, are being imported and are full of lead.

Earlier this month, Lee says a secret meeting was convened by the CPSC and they are now asking the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) to develop wick standards. "That's a several year process," worries Lee.

Now you are forewarned.

"This is just another source of lead," says Dan Margulies, executive director.

Last week, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled against an owner that felt the child's mental problems may have not fallen far from the genetic apple tree, wanted to test the mother's IQ. The Court said no, but only in this matter, and left the IQ testing worm open for other cases.

"If this child has a lower IQ level it's not clear that it would have been any better absent the lead," says Margulies. "It may be due to other factors. The ability to present this kind of evidence is very important."
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Title Annotation:of candle wicks
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 17, 2000
Previous Article:Local 32b-32J.
Next Article:Esther Muller of the Academy of Continuing Education.

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