You’ve started to date a cowboy, and are preparing a romantic candle-light dinner? You love to decorate your home with all sorts of knick-knacks, and no home design is complete without a few candles here and there? Well, before you light your candles up again, think about what you’re actually burning and breathing in inside your own home! Most store-bought candles, scented or otherwise, are made of toxic materials and chemicals, and simply should not be used. Period.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of candles, but merely consider a healthier alternative for the reasons presented below.
Most store-bought scented candles are a great source of indoor air pollution and release chemicals that are just as unhealthy as second-hand smoke. The substance that is used to make scented candles is called paraffin wax, and paraffin is a petroleum waste product that is further processed to be made into the wax. It pretty much comes down to paraffin candles being as toxic as diesel fuel fumes. When burned, the wax releases highly toxic benzene and toluene, and both are known carcinogens.
Another problem with scented candles is the wicks that often contain lead, which has no business being burned in anyone’s house. According to the US regulations, wicks must be made of cotton or paper, but research has found that as many as 30% of candles contain heavy metals in the wicks. As icing on the cake, most mass-produced candles contain artificial scents and dyes, which create additional chemicals when burned.
Toxic chemicals that may be present in the paraffin wax and released when candles are burning include Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene. These are the toxins that are found in paint, lacquer, and varnish removers, and shouldn’t be anywhere near your house or kids unless you’re painting (every few years).
One wide-spread alternative to scented mass-produced candles are soy-based candles, and despite the fact that there is no denying soy-based candles are healthier than paraffin-based candles, the trouble with soy is that it’s genetically modified, and lots of people stay away from it. Luckily, there is this one material used to make scented candles for all us girls to decorate our homes with and burn on special occasions that are found in nature and turned into candles without much processing at all, and that is beeswax! Beeswax candles are not only safe but are proven to help clean indoor air when burned!
Beeswax candles are not purely used for home décor. They can be burned during power outages for up to 9 hours, and are even found at kids’ birthday parties as birthday candles as a much healthier alternative to regular candles. If you’re further concerned about the quality of your indoor air, salt lamps and indoor plants can help detox it, and if you need to use candles, stick to beeswax to be on the safe side.
Video: Let’s talk about your Toxic Candles
Stephanie Hill is the Chief Editor of Healthy Fixation and blogs regularly on various blogs and health and fitness topics. Stephanie provides personal advice on the latest health news and recommendations on health related issues and products.
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