Chemical Distancing… and How To Practice Safely!

Chemical distancing is nothing new for us. My sister and I have been practicing this for a long time. We cannot come near anyone that uses dryer sheets and as soon as we detect them on their clothes we have to move away. We both will instantly get a headache. We cannot walk down the cleaning supply aisle of the super market. If we are in a bar or restaurant and someone has perfume or cologne on, we immediately have to move away. If we smell toxic laundry detergent coming out of a house vent or a laundry mat, we immediately cover our faces. We have to specifically ask an Uber/Lyft driver to remove any air freshener insert before we get in their car. When our neighbors do their laundry with fragrance or dryer sheets, we have to close our windows and go indoors. If we see a yellow “pesticides sprayed here” sign on a lawn, we walk a different route. We are so in tune to these toxic chemicals and the affect on our health.

I am lucky because my immune system is strong and I can fight off the chemicals. My sister is not so lucky. She has an autoimmune disorder called Mitocondrial Dysfunction. If she comes in any contact with these horrible toxic ingredients she can have multiple health reactions including a severe migraine for days, a burning sensation in her ears and skin, hives and rashes and potentially so severe that she has ended up in the hospital.

Products we use everyday may contain chemicals linked to health problems, like breast cancer, reproductive issues including infertility and birth defect, asthma, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses. Here are a few ways you can also practice safe Chemical Distancing.

Avoid Fragrance

  • Shop for laundry detergents, cleaning supplies and personal care products labeled “fragrance-free” Warning: “Unscented” does not always mean fragrance-free!
  • Don’t use air fresheners that have chemicals in them
  • Get rid of your perfume/cologne and replace it with a safe alternative
  • Get rid of dryer sheets
  • THE FACTS: Fragrance can be made up of hundreds of chemicals. Companies do not have to reveal these ingredients.  

Give Your Personal Care Products a Makeover

  • Read the labels to avoid chemicals like parabens, phatlates, sodium laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone.
  • THE FACTS: Personal care products contain a wide variety of chemicals. These products are applied directly to your skin and absorbed into your bodies. Some are known to be of concern, and many lack research to prove safety for your health.

Ditch the Air Fresheners

  • Open a window – Ventilate your home with outdoor air, even in the middle of winter
  • Use essential oils
  • Simmer herbs or spices on the stove.
  • Use an Indoor Air purifier that uses a HEPA filter
  • Use Azuna Fresh – a natural tea tree oil product
  • THE FACTS: Air fresheners with chemicals add unnecessary toxins to your home including ones that may disrupt your hormones, harm your children and add unnecessary chemicals to your indoor air.


Indoor Air and HEPA Air Purifiers

Breathing clean air has been in the news quite a bit and the affect it is having on ones health and lungs. As reported by The Atlantic,”The immune system is a function of the communities that brought us up and the environments with which we interact every day. Its foundation is laid by genetics and early-life exposure to the world around us–from the food we eat to the air we breathe”

Running an air purifier at home can be a good idea anytime, to help filter out indoor allergens and pollutants and that’s especially true now, when so many people are stuck indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“In theory, if an air purifier removes viruses from the air, it reduces concentrations in the room and thus reduces the potential for exposure,” says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer and professor at Virginia Tech who specializes in airborne disease transmission, air quality, and nanotechnology. “So there is a mechanistic reason to think that air purifiers could help reduce transmission.”HEPA filters are very effective. They are certified to capture 99.97 percent of particles that are precisely 0.3 micron in diameter. And they are even better at capturing particles that are either larger or smaller than that, Marr says, including viruses.The novel coronavirus itself is 0.125 microns, but Marr says the droplets it travels in—when people cough, talk, or breathe—initially are larger, around 1 micron. That’s a size easily captured by HEPA filters. (Consumer Reports Magazine 4-2020)

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) air purifiers help eliminate free flowing particles in the air that are not visible to the human eye, but can cause great health risks. The percentage of particles removed from an air purifier is also dependent on the design and air flow construction of the air purifier itself.

If you cannot give up your “Clorox wipes” or your “Windex” and any other toxic product, than I highly suggest you have an HEPA air purifier to at least rid the room of these toxic chemicals. Whether you buy from us or not, make sure you do your due diligence. There are many models out there and they are not all created equal.

The air purifiers that we sell are Medical Grade HEPA which captures airborne particles. They are portable so you can target specific areas in your home. The air purifier unit can be placed in your bedroom at night where we spend over one-third of our lives and where most dust mite debris collects.

If you want complete peace of mind to know your home and office air are clean and mostly free of toxins and chemicals, The Austin Air Healthmate Plus® Air Purifier is the right choice for you. With its broad-spectrum adsorption, the HealthMate Plus will remove the widest range of chemicals and VOC’s, as well as allergens, pet dander, dust, mold, viruses and bacteria. There are other models but this one removes a wide range of gases, chemicals, VOC’s and formaldehyde. 

For more information on air purifiers and to learn about our discounts and special packages please contact us at 716-868-8868 or email us at Greenlivinggurus@gmail.com

Here is a link to all of the Austin Air Purifier products that we offer: https://austinair.com/shop/ Green Living Gurus are an ‘Authorized Dealer’ for Austin Air Products®, made in Buffalo, NY, USA.

Too see the specs and certified buyer testimonials: https://austinair.com/shop/healthmate-plus/#

Other ways to make sure you have clean air in your home:

  • Clean Ceiling Fans regularly
  • Air out Dry Cleaning before you bring it inside your home
  • Use plants around you home
  • Clean filters in window air conditioners and change filters in whole house units yearly
  • Open your windows even in mid winter if only for a few minutes
  • Have your ducts and vents cleaned but ask about the chemicals and have them use only water in their cleaning system

Making every effort to help purify the air in your home is important to the health and wellbeing of your family. These are all ways that you can naturally increase the air quality of your home as well as know that you are reducing the amount of chemicals that your family is exposed to on a regular basis. Happy Home Sweet Green Home!


Risks Of Having Formaldehyde In Your Home

Are you worried about chemical vapors in your home and in your household products? Maybe you have just installed new flooring or furnishings and are concerned about the smell. Formaldehyde is just one of these ingredients that could be lurking

Americans may be inhaling enough formaldehyde vapors every day to cause leukemia and other cancers. Formaldehyde is a respiratory irritant and can increase the risk of allergies and asthma.

Formaldehyde, is a colorless strong smelling gas, and is one of the most commonly used chemicals in the United States. It is often used in household products, building materials, glues and adhesives, some insulation and pressed wood products such as particleboard and plywood. It can also be found in glues and adhesives, certain paint, paper products and some insulation materials. It is also used in personal care products.

Formaldehyde is also used to make other chemicals such as formalin. When the formaldehyde gas is dissolved in water it is known as formalin, a preservative, which can be found in some foods. Formalin is also used in personal care products such as cosmetics and antiseptics.

Formaldehyde is everywhere. According to critics, this is just another example of the EPA working to protect big business, rather than the health of the American people.

The European Union has banned the use of formaldehyde due to its carcinogenic properties. Formaldehyde was declared a toxic substance by Canadians in 1999, and some uses have been banned in Europe. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has called it a known carcinogen.

We will help you to reduce the exposure of formaldehyde through our indoor analysis of your home and or office. Please reach out to us if interested in learning more.


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The Benefits Of Washing Your Pillows

Pillows can double in weight over time from absorbing dust, mold, bacteria, sweat, body oils, allergens, dust mites, and dead skin. I know, a tad gross! Washing pillows may not be glamorous, but it’s something we probably should all be doing more often. Now that we are home during the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a good time to start.

Unless your pillow says ‘dry clean only’, your pillows can be washed. Washing will also help prolong the life of your pillow and as my husband Tom says, “I sleep much better on a clean pillow!” It is a good idea to wash your pillows 2-3 times a year. I wash ours every spring and fall. I also make sure all of our pillows have covers on them and we change the pillow cases often. Check to make sure they are not marked ‘dry clean’ only.

How to wash your pillows:

  1. Detergent: Buy a good laundry detergent without toxic chemicals. Molly Suds, Seventh Generation or Meliora.
  2. Washing: Wash 2 pillows at once to help with the balance of the load. If you have a top load washer, put the setting on ‘gentle’ cycle as the agitator can be hard on the pillows. Front load machines are good on any setting.
  3. Down or Feather stuffing: Use only powder detergent on a warm gentle/delicate cycle. Again only non toxic detergents without abrasive chemicals.
  4. Latex pillows or Memory Foam: These cannot be washed. You can vacuum them and also put them in the dryer on ‘no heat’ for 20 minutes. I also don’t recommend memory foam ever as I feel they are not healthy. We have had family members use them with bad reactions.(More on this another time)
  5. Polyester: These can be washed with warm water on the gentle cycle.
  6. Drying: It is crucial to get the pillow completely dry. Do not use the auto dry setting because the sensors will not be able to detect inside moisture. I usually dry them for 2 hours on a medium setting. Use the low setting for feather pillows. Tip: Place dryer balls and/or dry towels in with them to keep them from forming clumps. In warm weather you can also put your pillows out in the sun and let them air out.
  7. Pillow Covers: Always use pillow covers to protect the pillows from bodily substances, face cream, makeup, oils etc..
  8. Replace your pillow?: A good quality pillow can make a world of difference in your quality of sleep. It will offer ample support to your joints and neck, while a pillow that has seen better days might give you a crick in the neck, a bad back, or poor posture. Consider it as a good investment.

Click here to see Guru recommended pillows, pillow covers and other ‘sleep’ related items in our store.


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Hand Sanitizer 101

Here are some tips when looking for a hand sanitizer:

  1. If your hand sanitizer has a fragrance in it, then it’s likely loaded with toxic chemicals. Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that make up their scents, and therefore generally are made from dozens of chemicals.
  2. Watch for Phthalates which are endocrine disruptors, can mimic hormones and alter genital development.
  3. Triclosan was one of 28 ingredients banned in April 2019 in hand sanitizers but does not go into effect until April 2020. Studies have shown it is a hormonal disrupter and can actually harm the immune system.

There are many other ingredients in question that the FDA is looking at and still reviewing many of them. My suggestion is to read your labels!

With all of the news lately regarding viruses and the shortage of hand sanitizers in stores, below is a recipe if you care to make your own. It is very simple to make in your kitchen.

Also, washing your hands with soap and water is in addition to keeping your immune system happy by eating fruits and vegetables, exercising and limiting your exposure to toxic chemicals. Get your sleep and manage your stress level. If you have a sensitivity to rubbing alcohol there are also other options that use botanicals and are offered in our store.

Green Living Gurus recipe: Mix all the ingredients together with a whisker until smooth. Put in a glass spray jar. (Very important to use a glass jar as the essential oils could possibly erode a plastic bottle)

  • 2/3 rubbing alcohol (60% or higher)
  • 1/3 organic 100% aloe vera gel (very important it is the gel)
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice
  • I like to use doTerra OnGuard essential oil: wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary leaf. It has an energizing and uplifting aroma.

Here is my finished product!

Legal Disclaimer :

Statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your doctor for any health condition you may have.

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Simple Tips On Reading Food Labels

How Do You Know If The Food You Buy Is Healthy?

Get out those readers (or magnifying glass) and read your food labels.
It may be hard to identify ingredients that you want to reduce in your diet to keep healthy. What do all those words mean? How do you know if something has a lot of sugar? How do you know if it’s healthy or not? Here are some basic tips.

1. Do not be fooled by the front label as they will try to lure you into purchasing products by making health claims. Research shows that adding health claims to front labels makes people believe a product is healthier thus affecting consumer choices. I know I have been fooled before and always have to keep reminding myself to get out those readers!(or magnifying glass 😀) Or – take a picture and zoom in. I do this when I forget my glasses.

2. Lookout for these words and be careful and question any product that uses them:

  • Natural
  • Healthy
  • Light
  • Multigrain
  • Made with whole grains
  • Low fat – the fat has been reduced at the cost of adding more sugar and sodium to enhance the flavor. Low fat is not always good.
  • Fruit flavored – The product may not contain any fruit — only chemicals designed to taste like fruit.

Many marketing terms are associated with improving your health and are often used to mislead consumers into thinking that processed foods are good for them.

3. Be weary if the list is quite long and loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Most likely these are highly processed foods and more unhealthy ingredients or highly processed ingredients that remove natural components.

If the first ingredients include a type of sugar, refined grains or hydrogenated oils, you can almost assume that the product is not very healthy.

4. Know your sugars: There are so many other words used for sugar. Here are some to be on the lookout for: high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey, molasses and words ending in “ose” (think glucose, fructose, maltose and galactose).

In summary, many healthy foods are ‘organic’, ‘whole grain’, or ‘natural’, but just because a label makes certain claims, doesn’t guarantee that it’s healthy for you. Read your labels! 🔎❤️👓


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Are Lipsticks And Lip Balm Safe?

Many lipsticks and lip balms sold in the US contain cadmium, chromium (carcinogen), lead (neurotoxin), aluminum & at least five other toxic metal ingredients. Some are at levels that can cause potential health hazards. It’s especially important to consider switching because we absorb lipstick directly into our mouths. Manganese is one of the other metals found in many glosses, balms & lipsticks. It’s directly associated with toxicity in the nervous system. Recent studies show that more than 400 brands contain twice as much lead as previously thought. 

There are NO standards for safe cosmetics in the U.S. whereas Europe has banned lead in cosmetics & limited the use of many other metals. What makes it even more dangerous is that we not only absorb these ingredients, we also are ingesting them when we eat or drink. Even though the FDA may report that these levels of chemicals are ‘safe’ do you want to be a guinea pig? Also, what about all the other toxic chemicals you may be ingesting or breathing in every day and what level is that adding up to? It is hard to avoid all toxic ingredients; try your best and read the labels. It’s safe to say, that switching to an eco-conscious lipstick is a great first step to cleaning up your cosmetic shelf. Click here to see some recommended brands from our Guru Store!

On a side note and as I write this, I realize that I need to get rid of some of my lipsticks. Typically they are good for 1-2 years and I know a few of these are older than that! If they smell, changed texture or are dried out, toss them.


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The Green Living Gurus

10 Ways To Detox Your Home For Beginners

Food of course is important for good health and your surrounding environment is just as crucial. You already know that eating the wrong foods can make you ill, but did you know that a toxic home can too? Our homes can be filled with hundreds of toxic chemicals.  These  chemicals get trapped in our homes especially in colder weather climates where windows are shut for many months. It has been reported that indoor air is 3-5 times more polluted than outdoor air and there is actually a sickness called “Toxic Home Syndrome” when your home can make you sick. Diseases such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, reproductive conditions, birth defects and others have been linked to environmental toxins.  They can seep into your bloodstream and damage your health.

Be proactive and detox your home!! Below is a list to start in detoxing your home. We have links to all kinds of products that you can buy in our store or go online and search for some yourself. Thankfully, awareness of the chemicals in our environment is growing and the public is demanding changes. The ideas of “nontoxic” and “natural”, are moving to the mainstream. But be VERY careful – these words are also used by companies wanting to fool you so read and know your ingredients!

  1. Get as much fresh air in your house as possible. Open your windows when you can to get the air moving in your home. Even if it is cold, do it for 10 minutes. This is my favorite time to open up windows and doors!!!
  2. Get rid of artificial air fresheners that bring toxic chemicals in your home. We list alternatives in our store or use essential oil diffusers like DoTerra.
  3. Look at your laundry detergent ingredients and think about switching over to a few less toxic laundry detergent. Stop using dryer sheets and purchase wool dryer balls that are a great natural alternative.
  4. Look at the ingredients on your personal care products and slowly replace one item at a time with more nontoxic options. This can be overwhelming so take it slowly. Take baby steps because it can be overwhelming.
  5. Make sure you change or clean the filters in your furnace and in your air conditioner. Also, don’t forget to clean the tops of ceiling fans as well. These get covered in dust and you don’t want to circulate this throughout your room.
  6. Buy organic food as much as possible.
  7. Avoid processed foods which often contain unhealthy fats, refined oil’s, unhealthy levels of added sugar and sodium, which are sometimes very hard for our body to digest.
  8. Assess your pans and make sure any nonstick pans are not scratched, which could be leaking chemicals into your food and air . We prefer stainless steel or cast iron pans.
  9. Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn’s which could be getting into your house and look for more organic options and alternatives.
  10. Do not store your food in plastic containers and switch over to glass containers that you can find at target Walmart or anywhere else and in our store of course too!
The Green Living Gurus

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Is Your Laundry Detergent Toxic?

Changing from conventional laundry detergents in favor of greener, cleaner choices should be a #1 priority for getting toxic chemicals out of your home and life!! This is for your health & well-being! The simple truth is most of the main stream and big-name detergents are loaded with dangerous ingredients.  That includes Method, Tide, Arm and Hammer and many others. Some of the ingredients vary from each product, so always check your labels!

Just think about this: the idea of saturating your beautiful clothing, sheets & towels in chemicals, is not the same as cleaning them. You are actually dirtying them. You are soaking chemicals into your clothing, they are then ‘baked’ into your clothing in the dryer, along with breathing them in as you sleep, and on your clothes that you wear all day. Also, pregnant mothers can pass these chemicals on to their babies through their breast milk.

Here is a quick list of the some of the culprit chemicals in some detergents that we researched. Thanks to many of you that shared the detergents that you were using and here are some of the ingredients that are red flags

1. Dioxane – a carcinogenic and a solvent used in paints & varnishes. It can be absorbed through your skin. Tide was banned in Europe because of this ingredient.

2. Phosphates – are commonly linked to cardiovascular disease.

3. Formaldehyde  – which is another known carcinogen

4. Ammonium Sulphate– this laundry additive is so toxic, some of it’s manufacturers recommend not using it indoors

5. Synthetic Fragrances – which trigger chemical sensitivities, allergies & are endocrine disrupters

6. Fragrance – always be weary of this word as it most likely is a chemical

7. Natural, Free and Clear – always doubt these words in ingredients. Products use these words to get you to think they are good for you. It is all about marketing.

This is just a handful of the culprits!

Hopefully you have heard enough to make the switch in your life today. We mainly use either Seventh Generation, Zum Clean, Molly’s Suds or Biokleen and our clothes are just as clean without the nasty chemicals and cancer causing ingredients. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and can absorb these chemicals.  We have a number of laundry detergent options approved by the Gurus in our store and other various options to make sure your clothes are clean without using toxic chemicals! Click here to view the list.


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The Real Story About Cosmetics And Toxic Chemicals

This video will tell you all you need to know about the story of toxic chemicals in cosmetics. More info is coming out about toxic chemicals and cancer causing chemicals in cosmetics every day and we want you to know the truth..

To understand why there are so many chemicals in cosmetics, one needs to look at the history. It is quite fascinating. So, as we have mentioned before, all the cosmetics in our store have been researched by the Gurus and we feel they are the least toxic to our beautiful bodies and we encourage you to shop them.  Thank you to  story of cosmetics.org for all of this fine research. We couldn’t have said it better!


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The Green Living Gurus

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Helping to guide people to a green living, chemical and toxic-free lifestyle is my true passion. I have had a dream of pursuing this for over 40 years. If I can help one person eliminate or reduce toxic chemicals from their life, I will be happy but my dream is to help thousands learn about how chemicals can be causing a multitude of damage including causing cancer. While growing up, my mother always instilled a healthy diet and lifestyle.  While all the fast food chains starting to “pop” up all over, she was always against fast food and processed foods. Everything was made from scratch, and mostly organic. With this as a base, I graduated from Ithaca College in 1985 with a BS in Business and a minor in Health with dreams and plans to start a Health Food supermarket (aka Whole Foods). I had always had plans of owning a health food store, but once out of college, I found another true love of work and have been planning events in Buffalo for over 35 years. Even though event planning is in my blood, creating awareness of home toxins is in my heart. After college and going on to educating myself further on healthy living  for the past thirty years, I am now  trying to help others learn from my knowledge and experience. Shop our store to learn more about items that we recommend.  See the link below.

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4 Tips For Cleaner and Greener Carpets and Rugs

Keeping carpets clean and stain free is a challenge, especially in high traffic areas that become the stomping ground for winter’s mix of slush, sand dirt and stains.

Before you know it, your carpets are shades darker than they were just one season ago. Here are my favorite natural spring cleaning tips to liven up your carpeting:

1.Vacuum first

It’s important to vacuum regularly – try for once a week if you can – which keeps deeply embedded dirt, sand and dander to a minimum. Use the changing of the seasons to do a thorough, detailed vacuum of the nooks and crannies: Under furniture, around furniture legs and across your baseboards.

2. Clean stains

While we all do our best to deal with carpet stains as they happen, there are always those pesky spots we didn’t have time to tackle or that take several treatments.

  • Throw a solution of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into a spray bottle and spray the stain.
  • Place a damp rag on top of the spot.
  • With your iron on the steam setting, iron the rag for about 30 seconds.
  • Voila!

Depending on how long the stain has been there, you might have to repeat these steps. Click here for some non-toxic cleaner options from our Guru Store

3.  Steam clean

Mix equal parts water and vinegar and add to your steam cleaner just like you would any cleaning solution. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you’re concerned your carpet’s going to smell like salad dressing. For high traffic areas that need more power, use a higher ratio of vinegar to water.If you don’t have a steam cleaner, rent one from home depot.

4. Keep your carpets fresh

Between deep cleans, you can prolong the freshness of your carpet by creating your own carpet freshener. Mix the below ingredients and store in a shaker:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil

Before your subsequent vacuuming sessions, lightly sprinkle the mix onto your carpet, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum as per usual. (Just make sure to do this on a dry day so the baking soda doesn’t pick up any moisture.)


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Are K-Cups Safe?

I always question anything that saves time in our modern world of using plastic for everything. I have often questioned k-cups and wondered what could be leaching out from these small plastic containers that are heated to brew coffee. Most people know to never heat anything in plastic but now these small little containers made of plastic – are they releasing chemicals into our coffee? As a person that could never conceive, I always question the effects chemicals had on me now knowing that many are known Endocrine Disruptors. I will never know why I couldn’t get pregnant and it always makes me always wonder. Environmental Working Group has prepared a list of 12 hormone-altering chemicals that are endocrine disruptors:

BPA, Dioxin, Atrazine, Phthalates, Perchlorate, Fire Retardants, Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFC’s), Organophosphate Pesticides, Glycol Ethers

Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors

Plastics will always be a part of our lives. We can’t avoid them. But we can and should question anything our food comes in contact with, especially plastic. Many studies link chemicals in plastic to cancer and many other illnesses. I want to help people make the best health-related decisions possible, based on the available evidence at hand. Click here for chemical free coffee options from our Guru Store

USA Today: Study: Most plastic products trigger estrogen effect


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Sugar – The Bitter Truth!

This is a great video on the affects of sugar. It will open your eyes!

Sugar: The Bitter Truth (University of California TV)


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Candles.. Are They Toxic?

I am often asked about candles. Candles can be toxic. Many are made with paraffin wax..which is a petroleum by-product..which then releases carcinogenic soot when burned. Soot can cause respiratory problems and will aggravate the conditions of those who already have asthma, lung, or heart problems. Many are also scented with synthetic oils which can irritate your lungs and could cause other health problems. Some candles have lead in their wicks which can be even more toxic. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.

What are the options you ask?

There are soy and beeswax candles and even GMO free ones. Make sure it says 100% because some manufacturers still use paraffin and mix it with beeswax or soy to save money. Stay away from paraffin! Look for ‘scented with natural essential oils’ and ‘lead free wicks’ and ones made with cotton. Click here to view some toxic-free candle options from our Guru Store


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