If you’re like me, you love candles. I have at least one candle in every room of our home. I love lighting them right after I finish deep cleaning a room, on a rainy day, or when I sit down with a cup of tea and read my bible. There’s just something about that soft glow that puts my mind at ease, and seems to makes time move a little slower. Recently however, I decided to throw every last one of my beloved candles in the trash. Even my brand new, never been burned, vanilla bean custard candle that I was very much looking forward to lighting. That one was hard to say goodbye to!
So what caused me to throw away all my candles? I learned something quite shocking and rather scary about the candles I had been breathing in all of my life, they were hazardous to my health! Every time I would light a candle, I thought I was breathing in a relaxing blend of lavender or vanilla, but in actuality I was inhaling a myriad of poisons capable of causing birth defects, disruption of hormones, and cancer! Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking, “What? How?”
What Makes Store Bought Candles So Dangerous?
Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax, which emits benzene and toluene. These two chemicals are found in diesel fuel and are known carcinogens (capable of causing cancer). The scents found in most candles are also created using dangerous synthetic chemicals. The reason you may not know this, is that companies are able to hide these chemicals under the umbrella term “fragrance” on the labeling of their products. These artificial fragrances can be any combination of over 3,000 harmful chemicals!
Companies legally don’t have to disclose these chemicals to the public because in doing so they would be revealing their “special recipe” for their candles, which another company could potentially profit from. I personally think this is just a creative legal loophole to keep consumers in the dark about what they are buying. I also find it very troubling that the laws protect big companies’ earnings more then my family’s health and wellbeing.
I encourage every one of you to throw out all of your candles, just like I did. Don’t worry, you don’t have to say goodbye to candles forever though! Soy or beeswax candles, made with essential oils, are two natural alternatives to paraffin wax candles; neither emit harmful chemicals when burned. With soy or beeswax candles, you can enjoy everything you once loved about candles, without breathing in damaging chemicals. These types of candles can sometimes be difficult to find in stores; if this is the case, you can easily make your own safe to breathe candles right in your own kitchen! Don’t be intimidated, candles are actually quite simple to make. You can see how easily I make lemon+lavender candles HERE. Also, it’s important to note that earlier, when I said I threw all my candles away, I actually only got rid of the wax. I kept the containers to use for my own homemade candles. To learn how to quickly remove wax from containers READ THIS.
If you’re not the DIY kind of girl, here are a few things to remember when looking for and buying candles:
- Advertisers are clever and know what they are doing. They use words like “All Natural” and “Made with Pure Essential Oils” to trick health conscious consumers into buying their product. “All Natural” is a misleading label that should NOT be trusted. Unless a company discloses that they use ONLY pure essential oils, there’s a good possibility that they use only a small percentage of essential oils, while the majority of smell is coming from dangerous synthetic chemicals.
- Look for a 100% soy or 100% beeswax label on candles to ensure you are not buying a candle mixed with harmful paraffin wax.