Yankee Candle: A Whiff of Americana

With scents like “Let Freedom Ring” and “Starts and Stripes”, Yankee Candles sure smell American. And unlike the similarly patriotic sounding  American Eagle, they actually are made in the USA.  The company was the product of a boy’s experiment melting crayons to make his mother a candle, and spawned into what is now America’s largest candle company.

Item found: All Yankee Candles are made in the USA. Candle accessories like diffusers, holders and trays are made in China.

Most common countries: USA (all candles), China (accessories)

Corporate info: Yankee Candle manufactures their potently fragrant candles in Massachusetts.  While there are no current regulations requiring disclosure of ingredients in candles, their site does provide some information. Yankee assures that they do not use lead wicks, which were banned in 2003. Their wicks are made from pure cotton. As far as their collection of over 150 fragrances is concerned, their blend is kept secret. The only hint they will give is that they use a combination of real essential oils and “fragrance extracts”.

Overall: Candles can be wonderful for unwinding after a long day. Candles are integral to many traditions and can make a home feel more inviting and warm. But there are potentially dangers beyond fire hazards. According to an article from the Healthy and Natural Journal, 30% of candles used in the US still contain lead wicks. Though now banned in the US, cheap imported candles still frequently contain the toxic metal as a way to keep wicks upright.

Most candles, like Yankees, are made from paraffin wax, a by-product of petroleum. When it comes to “fragrances”, scents are created using  petroleum-based chemicals. The EPA has stated that burning paraffin candles emits carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene. The soot residue created from their burning also contains these toxins.

Yankee Candle have a remarkably loyal fan base. Their candles are American made, lead-free, and come in recyclable glass jars that can also be nicely repurposed.  Unfortunately they contain paraffin wax rather than natural alternatives like soy wax or beeswax, which contain no toxins and generate considerably less soot. If you are looking to try some natural alternatives also made in the USA, try Edinboro Creations, UCO, and Bluecorn Naturals.


Thanks to Danika of Greenwala for help on resources for obtaining information for post. Check out her article for tips of how to improve your indoor air quality.