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Are candles dangerous? Paraffin vs Soy

by Julie Rome |

So what's the Big Deal?

We have frequently been asked why it is so important to us to NEVER use paraffin in our candles. Isn't paraffin used in most candles? Yes, it is, unfortunately, true, paraffin is still used in most candles that are on the market today, even though there is substantial research of its harmful impact to humans and the environment.  If you are interested in the scientific details, you can download this document at the EPA website.   Since most of you don't have the time to read a lengthy report, we want to provide you some of the critical facts reported.    
Let's start at the beginning.  Paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product that is made from the leftover residue created from the sludge waste when crude oil is refined into gasoline.  (Yuck!) The oil industry sells paraffin to the candle industry and has a very dominant position in the business of candle manufacturing,and even has four members on their board.
In 2001, the EPA concluded that burning paraffin candles emit harmful amounts of toxins in the air that 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 as dangerous as second-hand smoke. In 2005, the American Lung Association issued a warning to the public about the dangers of paraffin, the NCA (National Candle Association threatened them with legal action.  Unfortunately, the candle industry is not regulated by the government and manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients or place warning labels on their products.  Many paraffin candles also have lead wicks, which can generate indoor airborne lead concentrations, an obvious health concern.  
In addition, most candles on the market that are made from paraffin may also contain other chemical additives in the dyes and fragrances that can be toxic when inhaled.  Some of the fragrance oils should not even be used for combustion, and can cause dangerously high flames.   
At River Birch Candles, we do not want anyone to subject themselves or their family to toxins that are carcinogenic, so we make our candles using plant based soy, which supports our American farmers.  Soy wax contains only natural ingredients and is 100% biodegradable.  It is non-toxic , clean burning and does not produce soot, which makes it safe for children and pets. Soy burns cleaner, slower and more even than paraffin wax candles.  Soy candles burn twice as long and hold their scents for an unlimited time. River Birch Candles always uses all natural eco friendly cotton wicks.

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