There are few things that can make your home feel more peaceful and relaxing than a beautiful candle slowly burning on one of your tables. However, despite the fact that candles are a wonderful thing to have in your home, not all candles are created equally. In fact, some candles can even be toxic.
The last thing that you want to have in your house is something that can be harmful for you, your spouse, or your children. In this article we will go over the different types of candles and discuss the potential toxicity associated with them.
1. Paraffin Wax Candles
Paraffin wax candles are by far the most common types of candles in the world. However, despite the fact that paraffin wax candles are widely used around the world, paraffin wax is actually one of the most toxic of all candle wax materials. The reason why paraffin wax is so toxic is because paraffin is a petroleum byproduct.
When paraffin wax candles burn, they release toxic chemicals into the surrounding air such as toluene and benzene. The substances are carcinogenic and can cause a wide variety of health problems. Further, the carcinogenic soot of paraffin candles can aggravate asthma, lung, and health conditions.
In other words, paraffin wax candles may look nice and smell nice, but when you burn them, you are essentially filling your home with toxic chemicals that can be detrimental to the health of anyone who happens to be in the same room as the burning candle.
2. Lead-Core Wick Candles
Like paraffin wax candles, lead-core wick candles can also be very toxic and hazardous for health. Some candlemakers add lead to their candlewicks to help the wicks to stand straighter as they burn. This is especially true for scented candles as some of the chemicals that create the scents can soften the wax and make it more difficult for the wicks to stand straight as the candle burns.
The problem with lead wick candles is that they release lead into the air as they burn. In fact, candles with lead core wicks release five times the amount of lead that is considered hazardous for children in indoor environments.
Lead is a very dangerous chemical and exposure to it can create a wide variety of health problems. Exposure to lead can contribute to all of the following health issues: learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hormone disruption, and more.
Lead-Core Wick Candles have been banned in the United States since 2003. However, they are not banned in many other countries. So, if you buy candles from foreign countries, then you could potentially be buying lead-core wick candles. This could also be the case if you buy candles that were made before 2003.
If you are doing either of these things, then you could be exposing yourself and your family to dangerous levels of toxins that could cause major health problems. It is far better to take the necessary steps to simply avoid buying toxic candles in the first place than to try to resolve health issues that may have been created by them.
3. Synthetic Fragrance Oil Candles that Aren’t Phthalate-Free
Many scented candles contain toxic chemicals that are used to create artificial scents that are designed to smell good when they are burned. While it is true that synthetic fragrance oils can smell quite nice, they too can be quite toxic when they are burned if they are not phthalate-free.
Phthalates are very bad for human health. In fact, phthalates have been linked to a wide variety of health problems including cancer, developmental issues, obesity, decreased fertility, and asthma.
So, although you might like the smell of candles that used synthetic fragrance oils that are not phthalate-free, you need to remember that burning them regularly in your home can actually cause a wide variety of serious health issues. So, ultimately, they are not worth it.
How to Avoid Buying Toxic Candles?
Luckily, not all candles are toxic. In fact, more and more non-toxic candles appear on the candle market every year as people are becoming more aware of the dangers of paraffin and lead-core candles.
Here is a brief explanation of how to stay away from toxic candles and to make sure that you only bring candles into your home that are safe.
Step 1. Buy Soy Wax Candles
Unlike paraffin candles, soy wax candles are made with soy, which is a completely harmless and natural product. Soy wax candles burn extremely cleanly and do not release any toxic chemicals. The best part is that that soy wax candles are equally as beautiful and equally as pleasant as paraffin wax candles. This means that there is literally no downside to buying soy wax candles. The only change is that they do not create harmful effects on the human body.
2. Buy Candles with Clean-Burning Wooden Wicks
Unlike lead-core wicks, wooden wicks do not release lead into the surrounding air when they are burned. Lead is a heavy metal, and it is very harmful when it is breathed into the lungs on a regular basis. It is far better to only buy candles that have clean-burning wooden wicks.
When you are candle shopping, it is also very helpful to look for candles that have a “lead-free” label on them. Candles that contain this label do not have any lead in their wicks. If you have any doubt about whether or not a candle wick contains lead, then you can rub the tip of the wick on a piece of paper, as long as it has not been burned yet. If the wick contains lead, then it will leave a gray mark on the paper. If this is the case, you should not burn the candle in your home, and you should instead return the candle and try to get a refund.
3. Buy Candles that are Scented with Essential Oils or Phthalate-Free Fragrance Oils
If you are someone who prefers to buy scented candles, then you should make sure that the candles you buy are scented with essential oils or with phthalate-free synthetic fragrance oils. This is opposed to being scented with synthetic fragrance oils that contain phthalates.
Essential oils and phthalate-free fragrance oils can provide incredible smells without releasing toxic chemicals into the air. There are many different essential oils phthalate-free synthetic fragrance oils and they can provide a vast array of different scents. So, no matter what kind of scent you are looking for, you will be able to find a soy wax candle scented with non-toxic fragrance oils or essential oils that will provide you with the scent you prefer.