Candles may or may not be the perfect household staple. Candles calm the senses, set the mood, foster the perfect ambiance, and lift the energy of any given space. With so many positives, could there even be a dark side to that wickered flame?
Choosing the perfect candle is to appeal to our senses: visually and automatically. But what is the effect of its burn? In short, it depends on the candle.
Paraffin wax candles dominate the market, but these candles would serve better as household decor than a functional candle with regards to health and well-being. Paraffin is derived from petroleum, which when burned, infuses the air with a host of toxins. In fact paraffin wax contains some of the same carcinogens found inside diesel fuel fumes. Acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, acrolein, dioxins, furans, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are among probable and known carcinogens released into the air from the seemingly innocent glow of a paraffin wax candle. The same holds true for paraffin wax melts as heat is all that is required to release these toxic vapors. And that's just from the wax itself - don't even get me started on the lead-containing wicks, added parfume and dyes which could serve as further irritants and negatively impact indoor air quality.
Particulate matter generated from combustion activities such as candle burning has been recognized by the EPA to negatively impact health, especially as it concerns the respiratory system.
Fortunately, safer alternative solutions exist so there's no need to say farewell to our household's favorite ambient glow.
Soy-based candles free of artificial fragrance (essential oils are preferable to parfum or fragrance) are a much safer alternative to paraffin candles. Plus, BONUS: they burn 30-50% longer than paraffin candles. However, its important to keep in mind most soy in the USA is genetically modified so if environmental consciousness is of value to you, you may prefer to skip this option and dive into the next option: Beeswax candles!
Beeswax candles are naturally carcinogen-free, clean burning, boast the longest burn time, and have the incredible ability to purify the air in your home! Quite the opposite effect from petroleum based candles. Beeswax candles emit negative ions (think of these as your beneficial ions) that bind with positive ions (not so good for your health ions). If one's immediate environment is over-saturated with positive ions, it can have a detrimental effect on one's health and mood. Positive ions include airborne particles like dust, mold, pollutants, and other allergens. Negative ions are statically attracted to positive ions which attach and subsequently remove them from the air thereby helping improve air quality and thus, our health, energy, and mood!
May your next candle purchase not only appeal to your senses but the health of you and loved ones!