The purpose of this website is to educate
people, not to scare them. But truthfully, there are unfortunately
many gel candles on the market that are being made improperly. This
has caused some problems in the past, and once in awhile you'll hear a
"horror" story about a gel candle catching fire or "exploding". The
thing to remember is, many times these stories end up being exaggerated
after they've been passed around and re-told by so many people, and many
times they contain inaccurate information.
Here is an example of a common "chain letter"
type e-mail that has been circulating around the web recently and has made
many consumers and candlemakers very concerned:
|Subject: Gel Candles
You don't use Gel Candles, do you? I received
this from a friend of mine and wanted to make you aware of this terrible
episode with candles.
Thought this might be of some news to you!
Hi all, my former secretary had a terrible thing
happen to her and her family last week, and I wanted to share it with all
of you so that you could be warned and warn your friends and family as
She had a gel candle burning in her bathroom...it
exploded and caught her house on fire...the house burned down and they
have lost everything. The fire marshal told her that this is not the first
incident where a gel candle has exploded and caused a fire. He said that
the gel builds up a gas, and often times it explodes and sets fire to the
room it is in, which is what happened to her. The fire was so hot it melted
the smoke alarm, and they did not discover the fire until there was an
explosion, which was her toilet blowing up, and then it was too late...the
entire upstairs was engulfed in flames.
Smoke damage and water damage have destroyed what
wasn't destroyed by fire. I know that there are roomies and friends that
I don't have on this list because I can't remember how to spell their screen
names...please pass this along to anyone I missed. I would not want this
to happen to anyone else.
Her family is devastated. All their mementos and
everything of value and meaning are gone. I'm not trying to bring anyone
down...just a friendly warning to all of you about the use of gel candles
Thanks and take care!
NOTE: Marty and I know a lady who loves the gel
candles. She had one burning on her mantle and it caught fire just like
in the message above.
She was at home at the time and saw it happen
and grabbed the candle to keep it from setting her home on fire and it
came apart in her hand. She saved her home but suffered 3rd degree burns
to her hand and 3 fingers!
Please, if you or anyone you know have these candles,
don't light them, they are dangerous.
Please, pass this on.
I can't tell you how many times I have
received forwarded copies of this exact e-mail letter from worried candlemakers
writing to ask me if this story is true! I'm sure this is not the
only one going around, but it's the most recent and the most well known
story. Here is my personal response:
That e-mail that you sent is a chain letter type of mail that's been
circulating around the web for months now. I don't know where it
started or who wrote it exactly, and there is no way to know or prove if
there's any truth to it. In fact that letter is even listed on the
Urban Legends & Web lore site, check out this link:
I do believe that it is definitely an exaggeration if not total fiction.
Gel does not produce any "gas" that I'm aware of, and I don't see any way
it could possibly "blow up" a toilet. The problem here is misinformation.
It's not that gel candles produce some kind of gas in the air, the problem
is that some gel candles are not made properly and with the correct type
of supplies, so they can be unsafe. The most common cause of a gel
fire is use of the wrong type of fragrance oil in the gel. Polar
fragrance oils can separate from the gel and form pockets, which can cause
the candle to burn improperly or possibly flare up in spots. If the
oil is a low flash point, it is more likely to flare up, and it also lowers
the overall flash point of the finished product to an unsafe level.
Also, gel does burn hotter than regular wax, so great care must be taken
to use only thick, quality heat resistant glassware that won't shatter
when burning. Candles don't "explode" so to speak, but they can crack
or shatter if they get too hot and the glassware is too thin. The
third problem is, even as it mentions in that story, that people are leaving
their candles burning unattended in another room. Consumers need
to start reading the caution labels and taking it seriously.
Gel candlemakers need to study and research and be sure to use only
the correct types of supplies so they produce safe gel candles, and they
need to test burn their products before putting them on the market.
It's unfortunate that there are so many unsafe candles on the market that
it's giving all candles a bad reputation. But I have begun creating
a website in hopes of reaching the gel candlemakers and the public with
the safety information they need to know, and hopefully the word will be
spread that these candles can be safe as long as the right guidelines
are followed. The site isn't finished yet, but if you'd like to take
a look at it I'm sure the information I have there so far will be very
helpful. The address is: www.gelcandlemaking.com.
If you have any other questions or if I can help in any way just let
CREEK CANDLE SUPPLY - www.candlesupply.com
line of supplies for making candles, soap, incense, bath & body, gel
candles & more!
CANDLE CAULDRON™ - www.candlecauldron.com
complete candlemaker's resource online, everything you want to know about
FREE CANDLES . ORG - www.leadfreecandles.org
to public awareness on candle and wick product safety!
ORDERS: 1-877-635-8929 (1-877-MELT WAX)
& FOREIGN CALLS: (715) 278-3900
SUPPORT & FRONT SHOP: (715) 278-3869
Here is another response to this folk lore/hoax
e-mail on Snopes.com.
The following link is to a very well written
article on this subject, that basically confirms
and backs up my own statements.
The article is written by Barbara Mikkelson, who
I do not believe is even a candlemaker,
but she does a brilliant job of dispelling
some of these rumors in her article!
This is a must-read!
Now I am not a scientist or a chemist,
so I make no guarantees. I can only go by the information I've been
given by professionals in the industry, and by a combination of personal
experience, the experience of other candlemakers who share info with me,
and a little bit of common sense. The opinions stated above are only
my personal opinion at the time being, but I will continue to research
and check into these things, and any new information I find will be added
to this site. If there are real true "horror" stories that can be
verified or proven not to just be "web lore", then we all need to know
about them so I will definately post them here if I find any!
I certainly don't know everything, and
there's always a possibility that I could be wrong about some things, so
I encourage everyone to study on their own and double check the information
you've learned here with other sources. I do my best to research
and provide the most accurate and up to date information I can, but I am
always learning new things and am open to any new information that I come
across. I welcome your feedback, opinions and experiences, and I
am always glad to try and answer any questions you may have to the best
of my ability. If I do not know the answer I will try to find it
so we can both learn more together!
Fact Sheet on Candle Safety
Fact Sheet on Fire Extinguishers
Fact Sheet on Smoke Alarms
We recently received the following information
|From: Potter, Ed [mailto:Edward.Potter@penreco.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 9:39 AM
To: 'BitterCreek - Rich Hansen'
Subject: NFPA statement on Gel Candles
I wanted you to be one of the first to see this
statement by the NFPA (National Fire Protection
regarding gel candles. The NFPA is a non-profit,
association dedicated to reducing the worldwide
burden of fire and
other hazards on the quality of life. They are
the publisher of the
National Electric Code and other Internationally
About 8 weeks ago the NFPA came to Penreco and
the NCA in an effort
to learn more about gel candles as many of their
associations had been questioned about "exploding
gel candles". The
NFPA spent some time learning as much as they
could about the product
and although the NFPA is not allowed to make
consumer products they found that gel candles
are no more likely to
cause a fire than a traditional wax candle and
essentially found no
real evidence of exploding gel candles.
I've attached the links to their home page and
the report for you
review. Please feel free to use it as you may.
Woohoo! It's about darn time some authorities on fire stepped in and
started shedding some truthful light on the subject! I say we all
spread this all over the web and start an email chain letter just
like the exploding myth one! That mail sure got the rumor spread that
gel is bad, so using the power of the web, we could spread the truth
just as wide! Whaddyall say huh? I think we should all send this
news to everyone we know, and tell them all to do the same!
Eventually if people keep passing it on, it will hopefully get spread
all over the web just like the bad letter did!
Doneen - Site Owner
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