Do you know what your candles are made of? The candles that are all over your house are probably toxic. “Alright Tessa, you’ve already told me my skincare, makeup, and cleaning products are bad for me, must you ruin all my fun?” Yes dear reader I must, but it’s only because I love you. Once you see what’s in the candles you’re burning, you’ll think twice before buying any ol’ candle.
I am working on taking non-toxic living to every aspect of our life and home. It’s been a slow process and it can get really frustrating when you realize SO MANY things are seriously harmful. I’ve known for a while that candles can be full of crappy ingredients but I prioritized other shifts in products we use daily. Better late then never.
What’s so bad about candles? Wellness expert Katie Wells states, “Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens). In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. Paraffin is a petroleum waste product and has to be deodorized and chemically bleached before it can be made in to wax. (source)
On top of that, many scented candles also have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead, and even a few hours of burning them can create levels of airborne heavy metals that are much higher than the acceptable limits. In the US, candle wicks are supposed to be made of cotton or paper, but studies have found that as much as 30% of candles contain heavy metals in the wicks.”
Artificial and synthethic fragrance is another huge issues in candles. Synthetic fragrance has been directly linked to causing reproductive issues, cancer, allergies, adhd, and migraines.
Yuck! As I started researching many popular candle brands (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle etc), I found their ingredients are not listed on their website. Only companies who are trying to hide something don’t list their ingredients.
Thankfully, many companies have emerged in the past ten years in response to the science and studies showing the harmful effects of certain ingredients in products. There are many candle companies that make non-toxic candles and they are readily available to buy online and in stores. Beeswax is the best and actually cleanses the air as it burns. Pretty cool! Soy is a better option too but some people prefer to avoid soy all together as many times its GMO. Also look for natural fragrances.
One caution. Companies are smart. They know people want non-toxic and will try to market their products as safer than they really are. A lot of candle brands use soy and say they are “natural” but will still use synthetic fragrances. It’s hard to know what are in these ‘safe synethetics’.
Popular brands to Avoid: Capri Blue, Volupsa, Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle and basically every brand of candle you have ever bought
I look at all of this very simply. Most of us (dare I say ‘all of us’) have a common goal which is to live a long and healthy life. Every day that passes, someone else we know is diagnosed with cancer. If I can make simple changes to expose myself to less chemicals, you bet your bottom dollar I’m going to do that. If I’m destined to have a serious disease well then that is out of my control. At least I can rest easy knowing I did what I can to keep as healthy as possible.
I’m now in a routine where I mostly diffuse essential oils instead of burning candles. If you are a candle lover and there are products that we can switch out that still work well and make us happy, it’s seems like a no-brainer to make the switch!