As the seasons change and the sun starts to set earlier our natural instinct to light some pumpkin spice scented candles and warm the home with the glow and smells of fall. I love the glow of candles and the ambience they set, but I refuse to turn a blind eye to the scented candles and all of the chemicals they infuse into the home.
Almost all scented candles are toxically made out of paraffin wax ( a petroleum waste product that is stripped and bleached before being made into the wax). When these candles are burned they spew off known carcinogens like benzene, toluene, chlorobenzene... among other diesel fuel by-products. These scented paraffin candles are the equivalent (if not worse) than second hand cigarette smoke, a garage with diesel fuel in the air or a home with a fresh coat of lead paint...lead!!
Candle wicks were originally made from cotton or paper but now have cheaper alternatives including heavy metal centers like toxic lead. Burned for over an hour this can release higher concentrations of heavy metals than is deemed safe by the EPA for indoor air!
My mother was always on the cutting edge of alternative health growing up and would explain to me that the "bad candles" aka scented candles (paraffin, soy) released positive ions into the air and "good candles" like beeswax released negative ions and I was confused about literally translating "positive" and "negative", but after some high school and college organic chemistry I now know and won't be mixing up which are the "good" and "bad" candles. Positive ions are released from things like scented candles, static electricity and naturally are all around us. They float through the air and can carry anything from dust to mold. The negative ions that can be generated from things like beeswax candles or air cleaning plants bind to the positive ions in the air adding to the molecular weight, thereby removing them from the air as they are then too heavy to keep floating around with potentially toxic molecules. Plants are also a great way to purify the air -see the post here-.
The best way to avoid scented candles, but still create the glow and feel: