Are your Candles safe?
Confused about what kind of candle to buy and wondering how safe your candles are?
We all love a candle, the warming feeling & the sense of well being they bring into our lives. Instrumental in creating ambience, making bath time a little more special & creating a warming feeling.
But what are the facts behind one of the oldest traditions known to man, lighting a candle?
What was once a product that brought light into peoples lives has now become a global machine. With thousands of brands & businesses all vying for a place in our lives. However, many have become industrial manufacturers. Claiming “we only use pure natural waxes, plant derived oils & scents”.
A recent report released by The Mail Online argues that many candles can be as bad for you as diesel engine cars. It is true as with anything we burn that tiny particles are released into the air. These particles are so small you can fit a thousand into one single human hair. With particles so small they can easily enter our bloodstream and respiratory systems.
Studies carried out by National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) clearly show these have been associated with short- & long-term health issues.
Read the report here
So should we use candles? Are they safe to use in our homes, around our children and pets?
The answer is YES. But always do your research before you buy. If you can ask the company to back up their claims they make. Nearly all reputable brands now have online chats, ask for the facts behind their products. If you get no response or feel the answers given do not stack up, then we suggest avoiding purchasing.
As a business we have spent many months researching the materials we put in our candles and how we manufacture them so we are clear on the the key dos & don’ts. Our end game is to make a product that is safe for everyone and uses only materials from sustainable sources.
Remember Candle Companies are not legally required to disclose the ingredients.
Here are our top tips to help you find the perfect candle you will enjoy :-
First thing to consider is the wax –
- Avoid blended wax
- Unless the brand clearly states what waxes are blended (ie: Rapeseed & Coconut Wax) for example.
- Some blended waxes have been shown to contain paraffin. Something that is very toxic when inhaled – To be avoided.
- Choose your wax carefully
- SOY WAX –
- A common base for many candles bought and sold today. Burns cleaner & emits less soot than traditional Paraffin candles. 100% Biodegradable.
- However, Soy grown on an industrial scale has a multitude of negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. Just being a plant doesn’t make it Eco-friendly. The processes involved to turn Soybeans to a wax is extensive. Remember SOY WAX is processed so one could dispute its Eco-Friendly credentials.
- It is also argued that 90% of Soy comes from genetically modified stock.
- BEESWAX –
- Believed to release negative ions. Purifies by causing airborne particles such as dust, toxins and even odours to fall to the ground via static electricity.
- More suitable for Asthma or Allergy sufferers as studies have shown Beeswax Candles can be non-irritating.A very dense wax, emitting a brighter flame & burns more slowly than most waxes.
- Will always out-way its counter parts when it comes to quality.
- More expensive WHY? It takes 8lbs of honey to produce 1lb of wax.
- The debate globally surrounding the Bee population and its resources attracts many opinions. What is important is how we use nature and avoid exploitation.
- Beeskin.com’s article published in 2019 deals with the facts.
- PALM WAX
- Quite simply, in our opinion, a wax to be avoided.
- The environmental impact, deforestation & wildlife damage is there for all to see.
- A very interesting read is The Economist article surrounding Palm Oil.
- COCONUT WAX
- Made by hydrogenation process. Clean burning wax, long lasting & when blended with the right oils the coconut wax itself enhances the aroma.
- Easy simple extraction process adding to its sustainability. Pure Coconut wax is 100% Biodegrable & carbon neutral.
- At present there are no facts surrounding deforestation linked to Coconut wax. However, as a business we monitor this constantly. Is more expensive than most waxes used in the market.
- A great natural vegetable wax. Great when blended with other sustainable plant-based waxes.
- Helps improve the finish & stability of the candle.
- The plant itself is widely grown, sustainably.
- When burnt no net release of carbon, its effectively carbon neutral.Good Eco credentials.
- If you have experienced a Paraffin candle it is without doubt one of the best scent throwing & burning. But not without dangers.
- Studies are now showing that burning Paraffin can have serious health implications.
- The amount of soot, airborne particles emitted can be dangerous when inhaled.
- Studies continue surrounding Paraffin but should be treated with caution.
- SOY WAX –
Next Choose the kind of wick you prefer –
- Avoid wicks that contain lead cores. The use of lead was banned in 2003. However, it is estimated that up to 30% of wicks in use still contain heavy metals.
- The law states it must contain less than 0.06% lead by weight.” TL;DR: Many candles can still lawfully get away with not being 100% lead-free.
- The best candle wicks are made from braided cotton or paper with a cellulose core (the purpose of a “core” in a wick is to prevent the wick from falling over and extinguishing itself). However, there are ongoing discussions about sustainability. This is due to the amounts of water used in the manufacturing processes involved with cotton.
- Wood Wicks are becoming more common. Aesthetically pleasing and do give a good scent throw & warming light. In general, they are more sustainable than cotton wicks due to the programs now operated globally related to wood-based products. They can be more difficult to trim compared to cotton, remember trimming the wick is an especially important to ensure the longevity of your candle.
- However what wick you choose is a personal one. We suggest trying various types to find what suits you best.
The next choice is the kind of oil your candle will be scented with –
- Outside of the wax the oils used to scent the candle play a key part to the overall experience.
- Fragrance v Essential Oils
- When choosing a Fragrance Oil candle it’s important to read the detail from the supplier or brand. If unsure ask them what they use to scent the candle.
- Some fragrance oils are lab created using natural and man-made ingredients. These have been shown to create health issues such as headaches, asthma & respiratory track problems.
- Synthetic fragrances contain allergens & neurotoxins that effect our immune system & nervous systems. With other ingredients of concern such as parabens, phthalates & synthetic musk’s.
- Essential Oils when diluted correctly are in general safe. Ensure you ask the maker if you have concerns what dilution % they use. The general rule of thumb is around 10% of the total candle weight should be oil, and certainly no more.
- True Aromatherapy candles should always use Essential oils & never fragrance oils. Safe & proper use of Essential Oils does have health benefits.
- However not all oils are suitable for everyone & effect people in many ways. Always do your research when buying candles to ensure safety first.
- Be careful around pets, children, and anyone with underlying health issues. A great study was carried out by Cabbage Town Pet Clinic
To sum up our advice to you is :-
- Do your homework
- Get to know the maker and what is behind the business in terms of product.
- If in doubt, ask.
- Always follow the makers guidelines.
- It’s a matter of choice as it is when purchasing any product.