Repost: Why I don't get too cozy with Scented Candles
As the seasons change and the sun starts to set earlier our natural instinct is 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!!
"100% Soy" wax candles are no better. Many people believe that "natural soy" candles are better than the toxic paraffin candles, but they are unfortunately still bad.
All soybean oil is HIGHLY Processed to become a wax form used for candle making. "It is chemically distilled with hexane, bleached using chlorine, deodorized with boric acid and then hydrogenated."-Aloha Bay
Candle wicks were originally made from cotton or paper but now have cheaper alternatives including heavy metal centers like toxic lead.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:
- beeswax candles and scented beeswax candles (with essential oils the only way to go) Like Big Dipper Wax Works
- Essential oil diffusers with led lights
- incense-also have to be wary some people are highly allergic to incense and you usually don't know the ingredients of the incense you get.
- fake candles-they can create the dreamy ambience without the flame, safer for pets and children
- Salt Lamps
I will recommend for those transitioning the company KEAP candle Co out of Brooklyn. It's not the perfect candle like Big Dipper Wax works or Sunbeam Beeswax candles, BUT they are very transparent with their process, are going for sustainability and working on sourcing/creating their own coconut oil wax blend that has 0 Soy.
The fragrances are very nice and probably too nice to be good for you, I am not sure if they do or do not include the certain esters that are toxic, but it's a start.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL OF THE HEAPS OF SCENTED CANDLES THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE AND LOVE?
Burn them outside.
When you have an event with friends or a quiet evening alone or with a partner enjoy them in the outdoor air so you aren't confined and pumping their burnoff trapping it within your home! When I receive scented candles that aren't approved for indoor burning I graciously accept and burn them outdoors.