If you love burning candles, it’s time you learned not all candle waxes are created equal. Look closely at the label. If it doesn’t specifically state what the wax is made of, it’s probably a paraffin wax candle. Consider the byproducts of burning paraffin wax and you’ll never want these candles in your home again.
Burning Paraffin Candles is Unhealthy
In 2009, South Carolina State University conducted a study to compare the emissions given off by candles made of paraffin and soy wax. The results are shocking to anyone who regularly burns paraffin wax candles in their home.
According to Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi, a chemistry professor in the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences at SCSU, “The paraffin candles we tested released unwanted chemicals into the air, [such as alkans, alkenes and toluene, all reported to cause harmful effects to humans.] For a person who lights [paraffin candles] frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma.”
Massoudi states the reason paraffin emits undesirable chemicals is because it’s a petroleum-based wax, a byproduct of oil refineries. Soy, on the other hand, is a safe vegetable byproduct.
Paraffin Candles Produce Soot
Look at the jar holding the last candle you burned. Is it black and sooty? This residue is only a small amount of the soot being emitted into the air, and airborne soot is easy to inhale. Soot particles can penetrate deep into your lungs, damaging your lower respiratory tract and alveoli. Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to lung damage from airborne soot, but exposure is not healthy for anyone.