Are candles really toxic?

Are candles really toxic?

Instagram and Tiktok have been filled with posts about ingredients in candles, ranging from petroleum waste product to known carcinogens such as styrene, benzene and toluene... But is it true? In short, yes it is.

Candles have been used for centuries as a source of light and to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. However, not all candles are created equal, and some can be harmful to our health and the environment. In this analysis, we will explore the toxic ingredients in candles and healthier options that are available.


Toxic Ingredients in Candles:

  1. Paraffin Wax: Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum and is commonly used in candles. When burned, it releases harmful chemicals into the air, such as toluene and benzene, which are known carcinogens.

  2. Lead wicks: Some candles contain lead or bleach, which release lead into the air when burned. Lead exposure has been linked to developmental and neurological problems, especially in children.

  3. Synthetic Fragrances: Many candles contain synthetic fragrances, which can contain phthalates that can disrupt hormone function and cause reproductive problems. Synthetic fragrances are made in laboratories often from ingredients that are chemicals and petroleum by-products.

  4. Dyes: Candles may contain synthetic dyes that can release toxic compounds when burned, such as benzene and toluene.


Healthier Options:

  1. Beeswax Candles: Beeswax candles are made from natural beeswax and have a subtle, sweet scent. They burn slowly and cleanly, and don't release harmful chemicals into the air.

  2. Soy Candles: Soy candles are made from soybean oil and are a popular alternative to traditional paraffin candles. They burn cleanly and release fewer toxins into the air.

  3. Essential Oil For Scent: Essential oil candles are the fragrant plant materials within plant cells, extracted by a physical process, such as steam distillation, from the plant. Essential oils are more potent than dried herbs and they are the ultimate in natural healthcare. Ancient Egyptians, Chinese medicine and the Indian science of Ayurveda relied upon the power of essential oils from plants to maintain the health of the mind and body.

  4. Coconut Wax Candles: Coconut wax candles are made from natural coconut oil and are a sustainable and eco-friendly option. They burn cleanly and have a subtle, natural scent. Coconut oil is a wonderful carrier for our essential oil aromas as it has a lower melt point which helps to keep the therapeutic benefits and phytoactive values alive in the most holistic way.

Data and Studies:

  1. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that burning paraffin candles can release harmful chemicals into the air, including toluene and benzene, which are known carcinogens.

  2. A study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials found that candles made with lead wicks can release significant amounts of lead into the air when burned.

  3. A study published in the journal Chemosphere found that candles scented with synthetic fragrances can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including phthalates, which can disrupt hormone function.

  4. The American Lung Association recommends using candles made from natural beeswax, coconut or soy wax to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals in the air.

Candles can be a great way to create a cozy atmosphere, but it's important to choose healthier options that don't contain toxic ingredients. Beeswax, soy, essential oil, and coconut wax candles are all great alternatives to traditional paraffin candles and are better for both our health and the environment.


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