FDA warns against using ear candles

Feb. 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to use ear candles because they can cause serious injuries.

The candles are hollow cones about 10 inches long and made from a fabric tube soaked in beeswax, paraffin or a mixture of the two. The candles are lighted and the hot wax is dripped into an ear.

"The candles are being marketed as treatments for a variety of conditions, including ear wax buildup, sinus infections, hearing loss, headaches, colds, flu and sore throats," the FDA said.

Marketers claim warmth created by the lit device produces suction that draws wax and other impurities from the ear canal.

"Some ear candles are offered as products that purify the blood, strengthen the brain, or even 'cure' cancer," said Dr. Eric Mann, clinical deputy director of the FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices.

But the FDA warns the candles can cause burns of the face, ear canal, eardrum and middle ear; plug the ear with candle wax; and puncture an eardrum.

Also, Mann said, the there is no valid scientific evidence for any medical benefit from the use of the candles.

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