Paraffin is a petroleum derivative used by most candle manufacturers as a cheap wax. When burning, candles release this toxic substance, which is just as harmful as second hand smoke. Asthmatics should be particularly cautious when nearby these toxic candles.
The fumes melting paraffin discharges are full of carcinogenic compounds, including benzene and toluene, which are very similar to the fumes of a diesel engine. These carcinogens can a number of health issues ranging from headaches to lung cancer.
It is highly advisable to avoid exposure to paraffin wax fumes, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, because paraffin fumes have been proved to cause liver and kidney tumors.
Paraffin candle wax contain over 20 dangerous chemicals including acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene.
Also, the artificial scents and colors found in scented candles can also trigger allergic reactions.
That’s why Glade and Febreeze scented candles should be avoided. Gel candles also contain the same petroleum-based chemicals like paraffin, bringing one more risk of their glass containers occasionally exploding.
It’s also advisable to stay away from the inexpensive candles from the Dollar Store as these are normally imported and may contain lead wicks.
WHAT TO USE INSTEAD
Soy candles are a great substitute for paraffin candles because they burn clean and longer than paraffin candles and are soot-free. The only drawback is that these candles often contain bleach and hardeners. Plus, soy in the US is mostly GMO.
Beeswax candles come in all shapes and sizes, molded and in containers.
The greatest thing about them is that they don’t contain toxins and are soot-free, meaning they aren’t allergenic, burn the brightest, burn cleaner and burn 5 times longer than paraffin candles. On the plus side, beeswax candles release negative ions into the air and energize the body. Although these candles are far more expensive than paraffin candles, they are quite easy to make.