Updated: Jan 4
Not all candles are the same. There are thousands of different candles to choose from but which ones are non toxic? What do you need to look out for when buying and more importantly burning candles at home.
In terms of wax, there are a few types of ingredients that candles can be made from. The most popular products include paraffin wax, mineral wax, soy wax and beeswax.
Paraffin candles (common to many mass produced candles available on the market) create indoor air pollution, similar to smoking cigarettes in the house. Paraffin wax is produced from crude oil which is a non renewable fossil fuel which is damaging to the environment. Emissions from paraffin wax include benzene and toluene (known carcinogens to humans). Mineral wax is another way of describing paraffin candles, they are toxic too.
The toxic pollutants released into the air when burning paraffin candles can cause the following serious health problems, to list a few:
Nervous and brain damage
Allergies and contact eczema
Impaired mental development in children
Soy wax candles on the other hand are non toxic and clean burning and are therefore healthier to have in the home than mass produced paraffin candles.
Here at Cotswold Pure, we have selected soy wax as the base of our candles for the following reasons:-
-Soy wax is a natural ingredient.
-Soy candles are made from soybeans, a natural, renewable source.
-Paraffin candles are made from petroleum, which is a nonrenewable source that contains carcinogenic substances. These substances may be released into the air while burning.
-Soy wax is clean burning.
-A candle made from soy wax burns cleaner with little soot released as the candle burns. Paraffin candles often create a significant amount of black soot that collects on the jar, as well as on your walls and other surfaces of the home. The soy candle may accumulate some black soot on the jar, but the amount is much less than paraffin candles.
-Soy candles are also non-toxic, so they won't release toxins into the air as they burn. -Soy wax is biodegradable.
Beeswax Candles are a natural non-toxic option as nature itself takes care of production. The worker bees excrete the wax to build their honeycomb. Beeswax candles are known for their long burning time and their soothing, natural fragrance.
Now we have considered the toxicity of waxes we also need to look at fragrance. There are two main types of fragrance used in candle making: synthetic fragrance and natural fragrance. Cheaper synthetic fragrance (otherwise known as fragrance oils) is made in the laboratory. Natural fragrances are far more expensive and are known as pure essential oils. The ingredients we use in our scented candles at Cotswold Pure are always as pure and natural as they can be. It is possible to buy cheaper fragrance oils (which are synthetically made) but we prefer pure essential oils.
The majority of harmful substances come from colours, scents and fragrances which are added to the candle wax or wick. Look for natural cotton wicks, ones which do not contain any lead.
So if you prefer to switch to non-toxic and sustainable candles that's great. Remember that when you burn anything, even natural candles, it may release certain pollutants in small quantities due to combustion. So follow this guide to make burning candles even safer:
To reduce pollution even further, aim to minimise the amount of soot being created.
Here are some hints & tips for healthy use of your candles:
Do not place candles in a draught.
Ensure good ventilation during and after burning candles.
Trim or break the wick to about 0.5cm before lighting each time.
Keep the wax pool clear and clear of matches and other debris to avoid flaring.
Never burn for more than 4 hours at a time.
Do not allow the flame to touch the glass.
On the first burn, always burn for 3-4 hours to ensure an even melt pool.
Ensure the wick is upright, above the wax and central before the wax sets.
Thank you for reading!