Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Dangers of Using Paraffin Wax Candles

  • My neighbor, who had never smoked, passed on 6 months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
    Dana Reeve (wife of the late Christopher Reeve) did not smoke. She passed away recently, from lung cancer. 

  • In the July 2006 Reader's Digest there is an interesting article titled "Why Me"? about a lady who didn't smoke yet got lung cancer. It mentions indoor air pollution.

    Could this be the link?

There are several unhealthy aspects in the majority of candles on the market today.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that burning paraffin candles emits small but harmful amounts of toxins in the air (such as benzene and toluene--affirmed human carcinogens) and are considered above the excess cancer risk with multiple exposures. 

Petro-soot from paraffin candles gives off the same soot as the exhaust of a diesel engine, and is considered just as dangerous as second hand smoke, causing problems from headaches to lung cancer. Paraffin fumes have been found to cause tumors in the kidneys and livers of lab animals. 

According to California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, there are up to twenty toxins in paraffin candle wax, including methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and naphthalene--substances which are found in paint, lacquer and varnish removers. 

The oil industry (which not only sells their by-products to the candle industry but also has four members sitting on the board of the National Candle Association) has assumed a very dominant position in the candle manufacturing business. 

In 2005, when the American Lung Association issued a warning to the public about the dangers of paraffin the National Candle Association (NCA) threatened them with legal action. The NCA has also sent letters to others who tried to warn the public. 

Paraffin is made from leftover residue of the final petroleum refining process. Most candles on the market are made from paraffin and may contain other chemical additives in the dyes and fragrances that can be toxic when inhaled. The type of wick and inclusion of any synthetic fragrant oil scents and/or dyes increase the amount of particulates, volatile compounds, and soot released into the air anytime you have a flame and combustion. 

Excessive amounts of fragrance oil contribute to soot (referred to as ghosting, carbon tracking, carbon tracing, and dirty house syndrome ) a concern when candles are burned indoors; it leaves reside on walls and furniture. Ever notice the black soot on the jars of some of the well known candle companies?

Candle-makers are using increasing amounts fragrance oils in their wax
mixtures, some of which are not even suitable for combustion. Too much
fragrance, in “triple scented candles” can cause the candle wick to mushroom, smoke when burned, and could even cause the candle itself to combust causing shooting flames several inches above the candle.

Most commercially manufactured fragrances are formulated in a petroleum base, which are toxic properties when burned. Some scented candles have been found to emit these toxins- acetone, trichlorofluoromethane, carbon disulfide, 2- butanone, 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, xylene, phenol, cresol, cyclopentene, lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and soot. 

Many wicks have a metal core, containing zinc, tin or lead which emit harmful toxins into the air and can cause lead exposure as particles of lead do volatilize during normal candle burning. (Manufacturers are not required to disclose lead content.) The small particulate matter can irritate and damage the lungs, causing breathing problems, in particular affecting those with asthma or some type of lung or heart disease. Preliminary wipe test results show 40mg of lead per sq. ft. in a home that burned a number of lead core wick candles, an astounding amount for a substance for which there is no safe level. 100% of lead that is inhaled is absorbed into the bloodstream. 

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) warned about the danger of metal core wicks (especially lead) as in the early 1970s. The candle industry agreed to voluntarily stop using lead or other metals in the wicks. However, 26 years later the University of Michigan took random samplings and found about 30 percent of the candles tested from the United States and overseas still used the lead wicks which release more lead into the air than is recommended as safe by the EPA. The study also showed the amounts of lead in the air increased the longer the candles burned. 

The candle industry, is not regulated by the government. Candle manufacturers are not required to list or disclose hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic compounds used as ingredients in their products or even place warning labels on their products regarding lead content and emissions so reading the label might not help.

Those wonderful smelling "Plug-In" air fresheners, made by S.C. Johnson Wax*, (that I had in every room) are full of chemicals (toxins) too..... We need to find a better solution to good smelling air without the health risks.

*They are actually members of the National Candle association. See for yourself!


Unlike paraffin, which is a byproduct of oil refining, soy wax does not emit
dangerous, headache inducing toxins and carcinogens such as benzene,
acetone, lead & mercury when burned. Furthermore, soy creates little or
no soot which can coat ceilings, walls and damage homes and other structures. Finally, soy is a biodegradable and water soluble product that burns cooler than paraffin and, therefore, slower.

Benefits of Wickless Soy Candles-

All natural” soy candles are a healthier alternative to traditional petroleum based paraffin candles. More environmentally friendly and lasting up to 50% longer than traditional candles, 100% wickless soy candles with no fillers, are the cleanest of all waxes by producing no soot.

· Skin safe. 
· It won’t ruin carpet or clothes. Spills clean up easily with soap and water.
· 100% lead free cotton and paper wicks, without a metallic core means
fewer toxins, such as lead, zinc or tin, into the air you breathe.

Non-toxic and non carcinogenic, this all natural renewable source of
wax burns cleaner. The clean burning solution to the candle soot 

· Soy produces 90% less soot than paraffin candles. (Our wickless candles produce no soot.) 
· No black smoke to darken walls or ceiling nor the black soot that you see on many candle jars. 
· No toxins, such as lead that paraffin candles can emit according to an air emission study conducted by Iowa State. 

Soy candles melt at a lower temperature 
· Fragrance fills the air quicker than a paraffin candle which needs to
get hotter to melt.
· Soy candles burn evenly across, unlike paraffin wax candles which
burns a hole all the way down 
· Wax gets warm but not hot so it won’t burn children. (The flame from a
wick could burn a child, making wickless soy candles on a candle warmer
a wiser choice.)

Why Wickless?
· With OSHA laws, most offices won’t allow a candle to be burned due to fire dangers, but will allow wickless candles on candle warmers. 
· A candle warmer extends the life of the candle as it allows the candle's fragrance to fill the air and hold their wonderful scent longer. 
· With wickless, you don’t get soot ,which is a normal by-product that comes from burning candles.

Since people spend most of their time indoors the researchers studied churches because of growing interest in the health risks posed by indoor air pollution.  

Incense and paraffin wax candles burned regularly during some church's religious services emit high level of particulate matter--tiny airborne flecks considered to be one of the most harmful forms of air pollution. 

Researchers measured air quality at a small chapel and a large basilica in Maastricht and found that the air in both places contained particulate matter at levels up to 20 times higher than what is considered safe to breathe under European air pollution standards. The levels were similar to those found in the air beside roads driven by 45,000 cars a day. The air monitoring detected high levels of free radicals, or molecules that can aggravate asthma or bronchitis conditions.

Regular exposure to paraffin candle or incense-derived particulate matter results in increased risk of lung cancer or other pulmonary diseases.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released research in 2001 concluding that burning paraffin candles and incense can be a source of particulate matter, and that burning paraffin wax candles with lead-core wicks can raise indoor lead levels above what the EPA recommends as safe.

It is best to stick to 100% soy candles. (Beware: Some companies blend paraffin with the soy and call it a soy candle.) 

The wealthy already know about the dangers of paraffin: 

  • Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol, regularly gives soy candles to celebrity guests on his On Air with Ryan Seacrest TV program. 

  • Actress Tori Spelling gave Soy candles as gifts to her wedding party and out-of-town guests. 

  • Soy candles are a favorite of Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore
    The Ellen Degeneres Show chose soy wax candles for their guests. 

  • Soy wax Candles are regularly given away in the swag celebrities get at awards ceremonies. 

  • Toronto’s 2006 ReelWorld Film Festival (RWFF) invited guests and media walked away with hand poured soy candles. 

  • Soy candles were placed in the gift bags for guests at Lindsay Lohan' s birthday celebration. 

  • SOY candles were on the reality show when George Hamilton, Alana Stewart, and families toured the Hawaiian Islands. 

  • SOY featured on MTV reality show "Meet the Barkers".

One more thing- As you search out a scented and colored soy candle maker one way to know that you have one you want to do business with is if the seller tells you that you can rub their soy wax into your skin (hands, cracked heels, or whatever for dryness). 

Steer clear of them as they have absolutely NOT done their research
and may be listening to someone else who found it to seem like a good thing....but if they don't do the research in the small things..... they can't be trusted in the big things! Soy wax candles that contain scent or dye should NEVER be rubbed into the skin. Scents and dyes are fine on a candle warmer but on the skin the chemicals invade your system....just like a nicotine patch or birth control patch applied to your skin will get into your system. One person who fell for the "rub into dry skin" story before bed, tells of waking up several times in the night with a horrible chemical taste.

Google under "dangers of paraffin" or "soy vs paraffin" for more information.

©2006 No part of this information can be reproduced or used in any way for personal gain without written permission from the author. You may forward it, in its entirety but this copyright information must remain on here to be properly credited. Protected by copyright as a collective work, pursuant to U.S. copyright laws, international conventions, and other copyright laws.