Since the millennium the safety of candle rings has been a big issue --Many are concern about the plastic candle rings that sits at the base of the candle. New standards are being discussed by candle industry officials and independent safety experts.
 
Although candles have been around for about 5,000 years, it wasn't until the millennium that safety standards were formulated in the United States. When sales of decorative candles surged in the mid-1990s, fire safety experts and the candle industry itself noted an accompanying rise in accidental fires resulting in damage, injuries and deaths. Voluntary standards were published in millennium by ASTM International, a standards development organization.
 
Look for the Fire safety warning labels on all candles, its there to tell consumers not to leave lighted candles unattended, to burn them away from combustibles, and to keep children and pets away. These might sound like common-sense rules. But most accidents occur because consumers ignore such basics, says Barbara Miller, spokeswoman for the National Candle Assn. in Washington, D.C. An adult leaves the room where a candle is burning, and another family member (often a child) tosses a towel or a T-shirt too close to the flame. Or the candle's glass container shatters from the heat, and no one notices until too late.
 
Since the millennium , candle design has become even more creative, luring new groups of consumers to their flame. In 2004, more standards were published. These related to the optimum height of the flame (no higher than 3 inches) and stability (candles should not tip over when placed on a 10-degree incline).And then there's the issue of what the industry calls "the end of useful life" -- a euphemism for a near-dead candle, with little wax left to melt. When that stage is reached, the published standard calls for the wick to self-extinguish. But some candles, even today, don't have that feature, Miller says. "We don't use the phrase 'self-extinguish' in our talks or literature, because we don't want consumers to get complacent and think they don't have to worry about putting out the flame." They should worry, she says.
 
Manufacturing safety standards are mandatory, and there's no enforcement mechanism against candle makers who don't adhere to the guidelines. Millennium Candle manufacturers test rigorously to make sure their products perform at the highest level. Be sure to look out for those candles that comes from different part of the world, where manufacturers may not know of the guidelines, or simply don't care. James Becker, ASTM's candle subcommittee chairman and president of Candle Solutions, a Kentucky technical consulting company for candle manufacturers, says there's no way a consumer can know how safe a candle is simply by looking at it. "The proof is in how the candle performs during the burn."

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