I love candles. I burn them year round and have them lit almost every night. I love the warm glow of the flame, the way they light up a room and how the smell can take you to a specific memory or just make your home smell like the season.
Through my “going green” adventure last year one of the things that caught my attention is how harmful candles can actually be for us and the air quality of our home. I never really thought twice about this and what I read made me vow to never purchase any of these candles again. The article below (as well as other research) is what changed my mind about burning candles that were now 100% all natural.
Danger from Everyday Candles?
by Life Holistic
Did you know that most candles are made from the sludge in the bottom of a barrel of oil which is bleached and texturized with a chemical called acrolein?
They’re called paraffin candles and burning one puts all the same horrible toxins and carcinogens (cancer causing agents) into the air in your home that burning diesel fuel in your home would.
The National Candle Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the US alone burn candles every year.
By Gary B.
But testing by the EPA has confirmed that those candles, and the smoke and soot they give off, contain several dangerous chemicals in significant quantities. These chemicals include known or probable carcinogens, neurotoxins and reproductive toxins.
The American Lung Association also warns that burning paraffin candles can emit toxins (in measurable amounts) into your home’s air.
It might shock you to learn that after burning just a few paraffin candles in your home, the overall effect on the quality of the air in your home could be worse than the air in major cities like Los Angeles!
Not only is your health affected, but the health of your pets and children as well.
Cathy Flanders who has been at the forefront of addressing health and safety issues involving candles says, “With the current ‘candle-craze’ and increased candle burning in homes, expectant Moms need to be aware of the fact that the emissions from some candles are toxic, reproductive toxins, neuro-toxins and/or carcinogens. This has been a growing cause for concern for the EPA and children’s health agencies.”
And it might hit your pocket book soon too. Not only is the price of oil spiraling out of control, but you might have a nasty surprise the next time you go to renew your homeowners insurance.
The NIA Group (Insurance and Financial Services) lists the following problems with paraffin candles in an article on their website:
1) Reduces the internal air quality in your home.
2) Damage by particulate deposits on interior and exterior walls, carpets, furniture, appliances, window treatments, floors and other surfaces.
3) Contributes to health problems from inhaling particulate matter or ingesting harmful chemicals.
4) Spews hazardous chemicals that are either in the paraffin wax, the wick, or are present when paraffin wax is burned….Acetone, Benzene, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Toluene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene and Lead
They go on to say…
“Another surprise is that the candle-making industry is not required to tell consumers about the ingredients used in their products, including when a wick is used which contains a lead core.”
No one knows for sure if paraffin candles cause cancer, but there are at least 4 cancer-causing chemicals associated with paraffin candles.
The EPA lists these chemicals on their website:
1) Benzene (EPA classification as Group A, known human carcinogen).
2) Carbon Tetrachloride (EPA classification as Group B2 probable human carcinogen).
3) Trichloroethane (EPA classification as Group C, possible human carcinogen).
4) Toluene (EPA classification as Group B2 probable human carcinogen).
Would you burn animal fat in your home?
Most of us would answer an emphatic No! or Yuck! to that question, but like something straight out of a horror movie, you might react in horror to realize that you probably are burning animal fat in your home when you burn paraffin candles.
That’s because many paraffin candles contain large amounts of animal fats to give them a more textured or rustic look.
So what’s the alternative?
Believe it or not, the answer comes from soybeans.
The soy plant produces a waxy substance that not only burns cooler, but can burn up to 50% longer than paraffin wax.
Since soy wax is derived from plants, its a renewable resource that’s a pleasure for candle makers to work with.
Some of the surprising benefits of soy candles include:
* Burn with no toxins, carcinogens or choking soot.
* Burn up to 50% longer than paraffin candles.
* Cruelty-free, contain no animal fats.
* Non-toxic, biodegradable, derived from a renewable resource.
* Cleans up easily with soap and hot water.
* Better for the environment.
* Use no nasty chemicals to release fragrance.
* Supports the American farmer – not foreign oil.
As more and more people learn about the harmful effects of burning paraffin candles in their homes, they’re substituting soy candles with surprising results.
For the holidays and winter season I love to burn pine scented candles. Since I wasn’t buying them anymore I decided to make them. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it actually was.
I melted soy wax on the stove in a double boiler, added 100% organic pine essential oil and poured it into a mason jar. It was that easy. I also made a sandalwood candle for Tom to light when he does his morning meditations. Added some paper around the jar, tied a bow and voila, a pretty homemade, sandalwood scented candle.