There’s nothing like the gentle flicker of a candle flame, its warmth and sweet smelling fragrance slowing filling your home evoking feelings of peace and wellness. But what if this luxury was to cause irreversible damage to the health of your family, would you still bask in its glow?
The reality of the situation is somewhat troublesome. Though they seem safe, regular scented candles are becoming a major contributor to indoor air pollution and are considered by some to be just as dangerous as second-hand smoke.
Known simply as a candle allergy, it’s not uncommon to hear of violent sneezing, headaches and even troubled breathing around traditional paraffin candles, the predominant wax used in the candle industry. Yet the problem with paraffin candles doesn’t stop there.
In 2001 the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that burning paraffin candles can emit harmful amounts of toxins into the air that are considered above the excess cancer risk, with multiple long term exposure found to cause tumours in the kidneys and liver of lab animals.
This can be so discouraging. We work hard, eat healthy, stay fit, and rid our homes and bodies of toxins, only to find that something as simple and innocent as a pretty candle on our mantle or kitchen windowsill is actually a culprit in the war against our health and wellbeing.
So what’s the alternative? The answer is simply soy.
Soy candles naturally burn cleaner and slower, that is to say, they have a lower melting point, compared to that of paraffin. In doing so, soy candles produce a clean non-toxic burn that has been proven to produce negligible amounts of soot and release no known carcinogens into the air.
Those with soy allergies are also safe with soy candles as the allergic reactions to soy is credited to the digestion of soy protein and not the by-products of the combustion process. When soy wax is burnt, the protein chains are broken and are no longer the same molecules that cause the allergy.
Therefore contrary to popular belief, allergy sufferers are not prohibited from enjoying wonderfully scented soy candles. In fact there are millions of allergy and/or asthma sufferers who frequently burn soy candles.
- Invest in clean burning, environmentally-friendly soy candles. Studies have shown people with allergies tend to have fewer problems with scented soy candles compared to similar products made from paraffin wax.
- Choose candles made with essential oils. Those people who react poorly to artificial fragrances do not have problems with candles that use essential oils.
- When possible, choose single note fragrances over those that contain multiple scents. A single fragrance, because it is less complex, may be less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated area.
- Only burn richly scented candles for a short time or consider using a candle warmer to subtly disperse the scent.