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Toxic chemicals found in candles

Date Posted:2 December 2022 

Candles are not just for a romantic evening. They can also brighten up your day when you're heading out to work and coming back home after a long day.  But candles can be one of the biggest ways to spread toxic chemicals in our homes! Be aware of the toxic chemicals in your favorite candles by checking our list below.


When you light a candle, you’re adding a little bit of fragrant fun to the air. However, many people don't realise just how toxic paraffin candles can be. Most candles are made with paraffin wax and artificial fragrances, which contain a wide range of chemicals - many of them toxic or carcinogenic. We wanted to explore whether soy candles might be better than paraffin ones on the whole. In this post we'll talk about what makes a candle "natural" vs "artificial," what makes it safe (or not), and where you can buy some truly healthy scented candles online today!



Paraffin wax candles release two known carcinogens into the air

You may be surprised to learn that paraffin wax candles release two known carcinogens into the air. The first is acetaldehyde, which is also found in tobacco smoke and car exhaust. It’s been shown to cause cancer in animals, but there isn't enough research yet to know whether it's harmful to humans. Formaldehyde, however, has been linked to cancer in both animals and humans.

In addition to releasing these dangerous chemicals into your home environment, paraffin wax candles also release soot into the air - a particle that can cause respiratory problems if inhaled often enough (and we're talking about just one candle!). Soy wax candles don't contain any of these chemicals because they burn cleanly with minimal smoke and no harmful pollutants or soot released into your living space.


The paraffin wax is made from petroleum

Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, a by product of oil refining. When you burn paraffin candles, you release the toxic chemicals they contain into the air - along with carbon dioxide and particulate matter - which are known to have adverse effects on human health.

The main problem with paraffin wax is that it doesn't easily break down after use; instead, it stays in landfills for generations. Paraffin candles don't biodegrade quickly like beeswax or soy candles do - and because they're made up primarily of petrochemicals (including benzene), they contain harmful chemicals like dioxins and furans that affect human health when inhaled over time.


Candle ingredients transparency

The vast majority of candle companies aren’t transparent about their ingredients. This makes it difficult for consumers to know what they are breathing in when they burn a candle.

Some companies are more open than others. If you want to be sure you get the most information from your favourite candles, use our guide below:

  • Many small brands will list all their ingredients on their website or ask you to email them with questions. It's worth checking out these brands!
  • Some high end brands are known for not being super transparent about their ingredients and don't have a lot of transparency around their sourcing practices either. They may not list all of the ingredients used in making the candles; many likely won't tell you if paraffin is used at all!



How about wicks?

Then there’s the wick, which can often contain heavy metals such as lead. Once the body comes into contact with heavy metals, it stores them, which can lead to an accumulation of toxic metals in the body. Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can range from nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hormone dysfunction, behavioural issues, central nervous system dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction (mitochondria are the energy producing cells of the body) and anaemia. Many chronic health conditions and autoimmune issues can be traced back to an underlying cause of toxicity. When the body is over burdened with toxins, it can’t do the job it is supposed to due to interference by toxic chemicals.

Lead core wire is used to make wicks for candles because it's flexible and won't burn up as quickly as other types of wire wicks. However, this same property also makes it an excellent conductor of heat, which means the candle will burn hotter than most other candles and produce more soot and carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas).

Cotton wick, on the other hand is made from a plant, not petroleum products. So it's better for the environment and your health.


There are some benefits associated with soy over paraffin in terms of burning time

  • Soy candles have a better scent throw
  • Soy candles burn longer than paraffin candles
  • Soy candles are more environmentally friendly


Some candles could be bad for your health both in the short and long term

While the benefits of candles are undeniable, the downsides can be just as significant. If you're an avid candle user, it's important to know that they can cause a range of health problems - from headaches and nausea to skin irritation (even burns), respiratory issues, lung cancer and asthma attacks.



Is soy candle toxic?

You may have heard that soy candles are toxic, but this is not true. Soy candle is made from soy wax, which is a natural wax derived from the oil of soybeans. Because it's a renewable source of energy and its production has fewer impacts on the environment than other types of waxes, soy candle makers strive to use as much of this renewable product as possible.

Because they're made using a renewable resource, you can feel better about burning your favourite scented candles while knowing they're good for the planet too! Plus because they're made with all natural ingredients like vegetable oils like coconut oil (which makes them safe for pets), you don't have to worry about exposing your family members' bodies to harmful chemicals.


Is soy candle safe?

Soy candles are a great choice for those with allergies and asthma, as they don't produce the same amount of allergen causing particles as paraffin candles do. Soy wax is also considered to be easier to clean up than other types of candle wax, but it can still be messy if you're not careful. The biggest drawback to soy candles is that they don't burn as brightly or last as long as paraffin candles. But given the health benefits of using soy candles (over paraffin candles), it is highly recommended that you choose soy based candles.


Why natural candles are better for you?

The most obvious reason to choose natural candles is that they're better for the environment. Natural waxes produce no smoke and less soot than paraffin based candles, which means they release fewer chemicals into your home's air. And because they burn more slowly, they can be used longer between re-lights, which means fewer trips to the store and less plastic waste from packaging. If you have pets or children in your household, you should also be concerned about toxic materials found in non natural candles. Pets can become sick after licking or chewing on these items when given as gifts (seriously). And children who play with scented plastics may ingest a large amount of toxins if their parents use artificial fragrances in their homes regularly (this advice applies even if you don't have kids!).



Is soy candle vegan?

Soy wax is vegan and a great alternative to beeswax. The main difference between soy and beeswax is that the latter comes from honeybees, while the former comes from soybeans. Both are naturally occurring materials that can be used to make candles. If you’re purchasing candles for yourself or as gifts for friends who are vegan or allergic to animal products, look for soy candles and avoid paraffin based ones.


Soy wax vs beeswax?

There are a lot of different types of wax available. Beeswax, soy wax, paraffin and cottonseed oil are just some of the options you can use to make your candle. It's important to know the differences between these different types of wax so you can choose one that best suits your needs.

Soy wax is made from soybeans and most often used in candles because it has a low melting point making it easy for people with sensitive skin or allergies to use. The downside is that soy products take longer to melt than other types of waxes (about 30 minutes) which could result in less fragrance being released into the air during burning time .

Beeswax has been around for centuries due to its natural honey scent as well as its ability to burn cleanly without leaving black soot marks behind on walls or ceilings like some other varieties do if they're not properly cleaned after each use. However beeswax is not considered vegan and therefore beeswax candles are not sold by Sassy Organics.


Where to buy soy based candles?

When it comes to buying soy based candles, you don't have to look very far. We have a selection of natural and vegan candles, made from 100% pure soy wax, packaged in eco friendly recyclable packaging and are proudly made in the Australia. The healthiest candles to choose should be soy wax candles and use essential oils as their fragrance. A bonus of using essential oils is that you will also get the therapeutic benefit as well as the aroma. We love the Summer Salt Body range of soy wax candles. They are natural candles, long lasting and non-toxic with a cotton wick. Delicious aromas to fill your home, without the chemicals. Yes please!



Are scented candles safe?

Now, scented candles are a big one when it comes to chemicals in disguise. It would not be your first thought when you look at a beautiful flickering candle emitting a sweet alluring aroma. However, commercial scented candles emit dangerous chemicals that when inhaled through the air, can have damaging effects on our health. 

The first thing to know is that the term “fragrance” is often used as a catch all description for any scent in candles. The fragrance may be artificial or natural, but it's important to know what you're getting yourself into before you buy one. Natural fragrances are better than artificial fragrances because they don't contain chemicals that can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and skin irritations. They also don't usually trigger allergic reactions in people with chemical sensitivities and they're less likely to be toxic to pets.

Many candle companies also use artificial colourants in their candles. These dyes have been shown to be carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer in humans and animals.


Are scented candles safe for dogs and cats?

Cats are more sensitive to the chemicals in scented candles than dogs are, as they have a much more acute sense of smell. They can get sick from the chemicals present in candles. In particular, cats can develop respiratory problems from exposure to candles and should therefore be kept away from them. You should also be careful about placing scented candles around your cat’s food or water bowls: if she licks the liquid wax on or around her bowl while drinking or eating, she could ingest enough of these toxins to make her ill.

Candles pose other dangers for cats as well - they can cause cancer just like humans do! Cats have been known to develop liver disease after being exposed long term (over several years) to toxic substances found in common household items such as scented candles and cleaning products.


Final thoughts

There are many toxic chemicals in candles that can cause harm to humans and animals. But we think there are better options out there! If you're looking for something more natural or eco friendly than paraffin wax candles, try soy candles instead! Soy wax is made from plants like soybeans which means they don't require any petroleum products or artificial dyes or fragrances to create their sooty goodness - and they smell great too! Summer Salt Body makes best soy candles in Australia. They are created with naturally biodegradable and eco friendly pure soy wax, a cotton wick and nfused with natural plant essence, essential oils and features 2 clear quartz gemstones.




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