Burning scented candles in your home is something many people find enjoyable and comforting. Most of us enjoy the smell of pumpkin, baked apples, cinnamon, and maybe even some vanilla or floral scents to brighten up your home. Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless practice can actually be endangering your health, as well as affecting the air quality of your entire home.
Most candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a petroleum byproduct. When burned, this wax releases harmful toxins that pollute the air that you are breathing. This burning wax can emit carcinogens that are the same as those released in diesel fumes, and have been shown to be as harmful as second-hand smoke.
In addition, the fragrances added to the wax release chemicals into the air as it burns. Even wicks are shown to contain heavy metals that become airborne. These toxins are not what we would desire to be breathing inside our homes! Our bodies don’t know how to filter and process these pollutants, and breathing them into our lungs can bring extra work to bodies that are already stressed out!
Take heart, candle lovers! There is a solution to this disappointing news. Beeswax candles with wooden wicks are a wonderful alternative to paraffin wax candles, and they are becoming very easy to find! Beeswax is not only free of harmful toxins; it actually distributes negative ions into the air which reduces the amount of positive ions. Positive ions are put out by toxins, electronics, mold, pet dander, fluorescent lighting and many more things. So beeswax candles actually help clean and purify the air within your home! If you are craving some scents in your surroundings, try a beeswax candle scented with essential oils, or try diffusing essential oils alongside of your burning candles! Just make sure your candle is 100% pure beeswax and not a blend.
Another popular option for a non-toxic candle are soy-based wax candles. While it is true that these candles are much less toxic than those made from paraffin wax, soy is usually genetically modified and paired with a toxic wick, so we do not encourage the use of these candles. Another good and newer option is a coconut wax candle. While coconut wax is a very soft wax and can only be used in its purest form for candles, it is very clean burning and tends to hold fragrance very well. And unlike soy, coconut is not a mainstream GMO crop, although GMO coconuts due exist.
And what about wicks and fragrance? Check your labels and choose a candle that has a natural wick such as paper, cotton, wood or hemp which burn cleanly. Organic is best! Be sure to keep your wick trimmed to 1/8 inch for safety. You can enjoy burning candles, you just need to shop smart. Make sure if they are scented that they only contain only pure essential oils or natural ingredients such as honey.