Don’t buy paraffin candles, it’s TOXIC!
Okay, paraffin wax is vegan, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you and your health!
Even though it’s a cruelty-free wax to use in candle-making, you should be careful when selecting a candle made with paraffin wax.
Why? Well…paraffin wax has proven to be TOXIC in its use as a candle.
What is paraffin? How is it produced?
Paraffin is made of oil. After the crude oil is extracted and refined there is something left: a dark black layer of toxic sludge that has no use in the production of oil and gas.
Before chemists knew how to refine this thick and toxic substance, it was already used as wax in the 1830s (called petroleum wax).
Paraffin wax was introduced in the 1850s. It came out when some chemists discovered how to separate the wax substance from petroleum and to refine it.
It was rapidly used for candles as it burns cleanly, consistently and can be produced relatively cheap.
During refinement, the petroleum wax is bleached using industrial bleach, turning the dark wax into white.
Afterwards, acrolyn is added to solidify the sludge into hard slabs. For candle making, additional chemicals are added to increase the candles melting point and burning life. It’s also meant to make the candle more aesthetic.
The paraffin wax is then sold to candle manufacturers, who then add further chemicals like scent and colouring.
Paraffin wax is now being used for candles, hair removal and beauty uses, and also waterproofing. It’s the least-natural wax you can find…
Why is paraffin wax toxic? What are the risks and dangers of paraffin wax?
1. It’s the last oil by-product
Well, first: paraffin wax is made of the last possible petroleum by-product (what’s left at the bottom of an oil barrel).
Technically, that’s what happens…After crude oil is refined to make gasoline, the barrel is coated in a highly toxic grayish-black sludge. This part is rejected by the oil and gas industry.
That is the “Petroleum Wax” from 1830.
Second: the stuff they add to this already toxic substance, does NOT make it better at all!
2. The bleach
To produce paraffin, manufacturers use industrial strength bleach. Bleaching creates toxic dioxins, known to be carcinogen.
The industrial bleach has a strength of 100% and is added to a mixture of toxic petroleum wax…the dangers of paraffin is quite clear. Your household bleach, even at full strength, is only at 10%. To make paraffin wax, the bleach is at 100%!!!!
Several studies have shown that the dioxins from the bleach have an impact on human development, reproduction, and the immune system. It can also lead to cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency has identified dioxins as a “likely human carcinogen.”
3. Paraffin candles
Paraffin candles are also toxic because of the acrolyn added to the wax to make it solid and produce solid white blocks. Acrolyn is known to be a carcinogenic chemical.
Once burned, the chemical releases carcinogenic toxins including benzene and toluene into the air. This statement is supported by several health organizations :
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention: “Long-term exposure to benzene can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells and damages the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.”
- The Environmental Protection Agency: “Toluene direct effects the central nervous systems, symptoms consisting of fatigue, sleepiness, headaches and nausea.”
Other chemicals are also added to the solid white blocks to help make the paraffin burn a little longer and look prettier.
Common chemicals present in the paraffin mixture include: - Acetone
- Carbon Disulfide
- Carbon Tetrachloride
4. Scented paraffin candles are toxic
But they smell so nice? Scented candles are very popular at the moment. Unfortunately, they are not the best for your health. Scented candles are now known to be particularly toxic.
Many candle manufacturers add artificial fragrances and colouring to the paraffin wax to give it a better look. Chemicals are used to texturize the wax, artificial dyes for color and synthetic fragrances to create “nice” smells.
These additives are toxic and very unhealthy, especially when you burn them as they release toxic fumes.
Paraffin wax is indeed made of saturated hydrocarbons which are solid at room temperature. Most fragrance oils are unsaturated hydrocarbons and are liquid at room temperature.
The lower the carbon to hydrogen ratio, the less soot is produced by the flame. Consequently, waxes that have more fragrances in them produce more soot…and release more of the dangerous toxins while burning.
As it contains many harsh chemicals, paraffin wax is also known to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Especially to people with a sensitive skin.
Paraffin candles and in-house air pollution
Every single paraffin wax candle contains at least seven documented toxins (two of which are carcinogenic) when they are burning.
When burning a paraffin wax candle, you are filling your home with toxic chemicals and contributing to indoor air pollution.
The soot and fumes that are released by paraffin wax are very similar to those released from a diesel engine. It is very unhealthy, especially for those suffering from allergies or respiratory issues like asthma.
Paraffin wax soot particles are very fine (around 100 nanometers) and can penetrate your lungs. More than half of all inhaled soot particles remain in the body. The effects include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular issues, respiratory diseases, and premature death.
The World Health Organization estimates that “fine particulate air pollution from soot causes about 3% of mortality from cardiopulmonary disease, about 5% of mortality from cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung, and about 1% of mortality from acute respiratory infections in children under 5 years old, worldwide.”.
Alternatives to paraffin wax
If you cannot live without the relaxing light of a sweet candle, do not worry as all candles are not toxic!
Fortunately, there are many wax alternatives to paraffin.
The two best, safest and most natural you can use are beeswax and soy wax.
Beeswax is not vegan but has been used for thousands of years in the making of candles.
Soy wax was is a vegan and natural used more and more in candle-making as it is ethical and non-toxic.
Soy wax candles
Soy wax is made from vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are natural substances that still have a sweet and natural smell when burning - without any added scent.
Soy candles are non-toxic, burn 50% longer and they burn cleaner than paraffin wax!
If you are looking for non-toxic, natural and healthy candles, then have a look at Frændi Hygge Candles!