So, you think you have done a great job with your candle selections by purchasing a soy wax based candle vs paraffin wax...applause! You are right! But, what is making that soy candle smell like pumpkin pie, mango coconut or bamboo blah blah blah?? Did you know that MOST of the soy candles in the market today use synthetic fragrances that can cause cancer? And it’s not only the $19.99 budget candle….take a look at some of the brand named $100 (even $400) candles with the fancy packaging being the most expensive part of the candle…they could contain toxic chemicals.
How do you make a good decision on what kind of candle is the safest and cleanest to bring into your home and breathe into your body, soul and mind? Basically, there are 3 things to consider: the wick, the wax and the source of the scent.
I have pulled some facts together of the myths and dangers of lead wicks, paraffin vs palm wax and synthetic fragrances vs essential oils which I hope will help clear the air once and for all…no pun intended.
LEAD CORE WICKS
A while ago, many scented candles on the market contained lead-core wicks. This was due to the fact that fragrance oils soften the wax, so the manufacturers used lead to make the wicks firmer.
A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC, which is why they banned wicks in 2003 (Not in China). Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.
From the United States Environmental Protection Agency Research and Development in the January 2001 article titled, “Candles and Incense as Potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: Market Analysis and Literature Review,”
“most” manufacturers in the United States have agreed not to use lead in the wicks of candles. Who is “Most”? 47% of candles imported are from China and Hong Kong respectively where the rules and regulations do not include strict adherence to the same standards as United States candle manufacturers. So, in conclusion, there could be toxic substances in candles imported from China and Hong Kong.
PARAFFIN WAX and CARCINOGENS
In addition, you’ll want to look out for aromatherapy candles made of paraffin—a petroleum by product—which release carcinogenic soot when burned. The soot can also cause respiratory problems and will aggravate the conditions of those who already have asthma, lung, or heart problems.
Besides endangering your health and that of your family, soot from paraffin wax can cause significant damage to the inside of your house, plus your computers, electrical appliances, and ductwork.
And if that weren’t enough, aromatherapy candles that are scented with synthetic fragrance oils release microscopic particles that can cause cancer and other health problems when inhaled. There are no regulations or bans for this!
Tallow, the rendered fat of animals, was used for centuries for candles and is still one of the most inexpensive types of wax and is commonly mixed with other waxes to create a hard, slow-burning candle. Yes, this means you could be burning animal fat mixed in with some good petrol from the paraffin and of course the toxic chemicals to make it smell like apple pie.
Palm Wax although a very clean source, is made from Palm Oil which has a bad rep because of deforestation issues in countries where the industry is not controlled.
This report was taken from the GreenPeace website:
Demand for palm oil is growing - and fast. At the moment, most of it ends up in hundreds of food products - from margarine and chocolate to cream cheese and oven chips - although it's also used in cosmetics and increasingly, for use in biodiesel. But the cost to the environment and the global climate is devastating - to feed this demand, tropical rainforests and peatlands in South East Asia are being torn up to provide land for oil palm plantations.
Fruit from the oil palm © Greenpeace/Solness Our consumption of palm oil is rocketing: compared to levels in 2000, demand is predicted to more than double by 2030 and to triple by 2050. Over 70 per cent ends up in food, but the biofuels industry is expanding rapidly. Indonesia already has 6 million hectares of oil palm plantations, but has plans for another 4 million by 2015 dedicated to biofuel production alone.
"Between 1967 and 2000 the area under cultivation in Indonesia expanded from less than 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) to more than 30,000 square kilometers. Deforestation in Indonesia for palm oil and illegal logging is so rapid that a report in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said most of the country's forest might be destroyed by 2022."- The Economist - "The Other Oil Spill"
Simply put, bees wax is the most expensive and cleanest wax but, if you want to experience the magical scents of plants and flowers, you can’t achieve it due to the strong natural scent of the beeswax. I highly recommend bees wax for the simple pure natural aroma it can carry by themselves, but, most people want to experience scents that will inspire, relax and invigorate without any interference of other scents. This is why we use the cleanest and highest performing soy wax in the market today with our own pure essential oil blends.
NON-TOXIC-Soy wax is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin
LONG BURNING-Soy candles burn slower and cooler.
RENEWABLE RESOURCE-Soybeans are a renewable source
BIODEGRADABLE -Since soybeans are vegetables, soy wax (basically made from hydrogenated soybean oil) is naturally biodegradable. Soy wax is the easiest to remove from glass containers with a little soap and water.
There are many companies that will claim they have Organic or Non-GMO Soy Wax. About 98% of the soybean harvest has been either genetically modified (GMO) or non-GMO mixed in with GMO soybeans. All of the soy wax in the US is made by just four companies, and none of them currently process organic soy oil into candle wax at this time.
However, soy wax is not being consumed in a candle and it still remains the highest performing wax to be used with pure essential oils and it’s renewable and safe. If you are really looking for the best experience in a low temperature burning candle to emit the beautiful fragrances of pure essential oils, soy wax is the best. We do hope that we will start to see options for non-gmo soy wax in the very near future.
TOXIC SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES VS ESSENTIAL OILS
In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences targeted synthetic fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. The report states that 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers, which are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. US House of Representatives, Sept. 16, 1986) [Report 99-827]
Methylene chloride, a known carcinogen that also causes autoimmune disease, is listed as one of the 20 most common chemicals found in fragrance products in the 1991 EPA study, even though the FDA banned the chemical in all cosmetic and fragrance products in 1989. Limonene, also listed as one of the 20 most common chemicals, is a known carcinogen. Benzaldehyde, one of the 20 most common chemicals in the EPA's fragrance study, is a sensitizer. According to the Merck Index, it is also a narcotic.
ESSENTIAL OILS DERIVED FROM NATURE’S OWN PLANTS AND FLOWERS
Even though essential oils have been around for centuries, dating back to the early Egyptians and were brought as gifts to Jesus in biblical times (remember frankincense?), they’ve become more relevant today than ever before.
These oils not only smell wonderful, but they actually heal at the cellular level. Essential oils are volatile liquids distilled from plants and parts such as seeds, flowers, fruit, stems, bark, roots and leaves. It may take hundreds of pounds of flowers and leaves to distill one batch of pure essential oil. They have hundreds of uses for everything from minor ailments such as a paper cut or minor burn to large ailments like cancer.
Despite their name, essential oils are not oils but are aromatic, volatile substances or essences extracted from a plant, herb or flower by distillation or expression. It is a labor-intensive process resulting in a potent oil that is not cheap, but due to its concentrated nature, a small amount can be used very effectively for a range of ailments, skincare and even natural homemade cleaning products.
Choosing a candle shouldn’t be so difficult but unfortunately we are now living in a world where we have to examine every single item we are consuming. BE CURIOUS AND QUESTION EVERYTHING. Is the material safe? Are the ingredients safe? How was it manufactured? What is it’s consumption, renewability and it’s re-use?
Educate yourself of the ingredients of everything you are consuming and also think about what is going to happen at the end of it’s life. Can it biodegrade? Can it be re-used? Was it’s purpose while being used for something meaningful and healthy?
Choose renewable plant derived products such as pure essential oil soy wax candles. Enjoy them and feel inspired!
"Light with Pure Intention"
The Pure Candle