VOSI Public Health Standard V50.1



1.1 This Universal Specification/Test Method specifies a simple test  method, based on tensile testing, for determining whether candle wick metal cores are zinc, tin or lead alloys.

1.2 The maximum lead content of metal core candle wicks shall be 0.01%.

1.3 Eliminate metal core candle wicks for imported candles in order to facilitate inspection by U.S. Customs Dept. (reference paragraph 4.10)


2.1 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Petition HP 00-3Public Citizen(2/24/2000 and 3/17/2000), National Multi Housing Council and National Apartment Assoc(2/23/2000).

2.2 6/8/2000 Letter from Public Citizen to CPSC Secretary.

2.3 Wire Industries, Inc., Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for zinc alloy used in Atkins & Pearce zinc core wicks.

2.4 Atkins & Pearce 1/1/1999 Price List for cotton, paper and zinc cored wicks.

2.5 World Health Organization (United Nations), Geneva Switzerland 7/6/2000 fax to D. Meserlian, VOSI Chairman.

2.6 VOSI Research Report RR7-V50.1 ''Test Method for Classifying and Minimizing the Lead (Pb) Content in Metal Core Candle Wicks'.

2.7 ASTM E1613-99 "Standard Test Method for Determination of Lead etc."


3.1 Wick Core - The cylindrical center of a candle wick (typically 0.010-0.020 inch diameter).

3.2 Zinc core - A zinc alloy having less than 0.01% lead by weight and a minimum 20,000 PSI tensile strength (Ref. 2.3 and Ref.2.6). Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must specify 0.01% max lead.

3.3 Tin Core - A tin alloy having less then 0.10% lead but greater than 0.01% (Approx. 5000 PSI tensile strength).

3.4 Lead Core- A lead alloy typically having a lead content from 25 to 85% lead (Approx. 2000 PSI tensile strength).

3.5 Fiber Core- A non-metal core candle wick.


4.1 Only zinc core wicks per 3.2 should be used in metal cores for candle wicks. (NOTE:  tensile testing will not be required but only a visual test will be necessary).

4.2 The CPSC should ban the use of tin and lead cores (exceeding .01% Lead) per 2.1 and 2.2

4.3 The CPSC should notify the U.S. Customs Dept. of this specification/test method.

4.4 Both domestic and imported metal candle wick cores should be tensile tested to insure that only zinc cores are sold to the public. (Ref. 2.6).0.01% maximum lead content of zinc cores should be verified by candle and candle wick manufacturers per 2.7. A material certification should be provided by the zinc alloy wire mfg. indicating the max % of lead 

4.5 A suitable candle core tensile test kit, Model 90 Candle Core Classification Test Kit, (ref. 2.6) is available from Technical Products Co., 24F Commerce Rd., Fairfield NJ 07004 Ph (973) 227-7635, Fax - 7636. Any other tensile test may be used.

4.6 A major U.S. wick manufacturer only supplies zinc core wicks (Ref. 2.4).

4.7 Lead accumulates in the body throughout a person's lifetime. (Ref. 2.5) A person who uses candles regularly could easily burn 1000 candles during their lifetime.

4.8 The CPSC and/or the National Candle Association (NCA) should advise manufacturers of metal candle wick cores of this specification/test method.

4.9 Wire candle wick cores are not used in Western Europe.

4.10 The United States as one of 191 member nations of the World Health Organization (WHO) should eventually ban the use of metal core wicks as the WHO members have done in Western Europe. (reference 1.3)

4.11 Use of this specifications/test method will significantly reduce the health hazards of lead accumulation when burning metal core wick candles.

4.12 The CPSC should ban the use of metal core wicks in imported candles in order to facilitate visual inspection


5.1 Wick Core, Zinc (Zn) Core, Tin (Sn) Core, Lead (Pb) Core

This Universal Specification/Test Method is under the jurisdiction of Voices of Safety International (VOSI) Committee V41.50 on "Public Health", Task GroupV50.1 on "Safety of Metal Core Candle Wicks". The VOSI Task Group worked cooperatively with ASTM Committee F 15 on Consumer Products, Subcommittee F15.45 on Candle Products' Candle Wick Task Group.

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Created: 2000-11-21 Last Updated: 2000-11-24