The more I investigate even the most innocuous house hold products are proving to be absurdly hazardous to my health. I know I’m not the only person that thinks of candles as being a brilliant addition to a home. I knew most candles used scented paraffin or paraffin blend. I did not know that as these petroleum derivatives melted they release carcinogenic chemicals similar in structure to exhaust from a diesel engine!
The worst compounds are acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene. Researchers in California found up to twenty toxins in various waxes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have officially recommended limited exposure to these fumes as they are known causes for lung cancer, and tumors in the kidneys and livers.
Candle manufacturing has been revealed to be a surprisingly shady process. For some strange explainable reason you will not find any list of chemical compounds or potential hazards on any candle container. In 2003, the US banned lead from being in wicks. The metal made the wicks stand up straighter. Burning these wicks puts five times the amount of toxins that the EPA considers toxic. American companies have been accused of continuing to put lead in candles by Australian scientists.
Other potential countries to watch out for are Mexico, China and Taiwan. The cheaper a candle is the more you should try to research that brand. Researchers suggest looking for a thin wire or metallic sheen in any candle you intend on burning. I cannot stress enough how dangerous this is. People with a weak immunity or asthma will be effected the severely and quickly. Healthy adults can develop serious hormonal, respiratory and other health issues breathing this poison.
There are alternatives to paraffin wax candles. One of these is soy candles. While a longer burning, clean, and soot free solution, I don’t strongly recommend them. They spoil unless they have been treated with preservatives which can range from bleach to hardeners.
My favorite option is beeswax candles. Non toxic, non allergenic, soot free, burn the brightest and up to 5 times longer than the paraffin ones. Beeswax also has the interesting property of naturally omitting negative ions found to invigorate the body. The down side is they are normally very expensive. They can be made very easily if you have some free time and at a fraction of the cost.