There is something magical in the pleasant scent and glow from an aromatic candle. That is why many people have them in their homes. But a few are aware that they are filling their homes with artificial scent which releases toxins.
A lot of candles contain paraffin or paraffin blend. It is actually a petroleum derivative, cheap wax which is mostly used by the manufacturers.
People who suffer from asthma are extremely sensitive and may have problems with breathing around burning paraffin candles.
When is melted, paraffin releases substances similar to those of a diesel engine which are proven to be carcinogenic.
Melted paraffin also releases benzene and toluene which are carcinogens that cause headaches and even lung cancer.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health warns people to avoid paraffin wax fumes. Paraffin fumes are proven to cause tumors in the kidneys and liver of lab animals.
In USA the use of lead in candles is banned since 2003. It was used to keep the wicks straight and stiff, but when lit they release lead in the air at dangerous levels. Still, the imported candles contain lead. High levels of lead can cause various health problems, hormone disruption and learning disabilities.
California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act from 1986 claims that there are more than 20 toxins in paraffin candle wax as: Carbon Disulfide, Styrene, Xylene, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Phenol, Cresol, 2- Butanone, Cyclopentene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene etc.
Allergic reactions may be triggered by synthetic scents and colors contained in scented candles.
How to avoid these harmful toxins in candles
- Avoid cheap “aromatherapy” and scented candles as Glade and Febreeze candles.
- Gel candles also contain the same petrochemicals as paraffin but are even more dangerous because of their glass containers which may explode.
- Low-priced candles from the Dollar Store are mostly imported and usually have lead wicks.
- Soy candles can replace the paraffin candles. They burn longer and are soot-free. But because they can spoil without preservatives, they contain bleach and hardeners.
- Beeswax candles can be found in all shapes and sizes. They can be molded or in containers. They are soot-free, non-toxic and non- allergenic. They also burn the brightest, cleaner and burn 5 times as long as paraffin candles. Although they are 10 times more expensive than paraffin candles you can make them by yourself.
You can buy sheets of beeswax online. These sheets usually have a honey comb patterned pressed into the wax. They can be rolled tightly into a tube shape around a long natural or cotton wick. You can also use candle molds or make them in jars.