Candles make a regular presence in our lives: think birthdays, romantic evenings and when the power is out. Although they might look pretty and have a lovely smell, often they’re letting off toxins. Here is how to turn the lights on eco-friendly candles instead that are better for you.
Lighting a Health Hazard
Candles are one of the items that we might not consider to be toxic. What could be dangerous about a bit of wax and an open flame, right? Well, quite a lot if one looks at the research. Candles have the following negative traits about them:
- Paraffin is a no-no. Paraffin candles produce many by-products when they are burned, such as carbon dioxide. Since paraffin is a petroleum product, it is also a non-renewable resource.
- Soot is dangerous. Candles produce soot which can irritate the lungs. Scented candles are especially harmful as they release dangerous chemicals, such as benzene that is linked to the onset of neurological problems.
- More than just a fragrance. Phthalates that are often found in scented candles are known as chemicals that disrupt the hormones in the body.
- Wicked wicks. Some candles have wicks that contain lead and zinc. These release harmful gases when the candle burns.
- Packaging concerns. It’s important to remember that when purchasing candles, sometimes the packaging itself can be an environmental concern. If the candle comes with a large amount of packaging, this plastic usually finds its way to the bin, resulting in waste.
- Causes of cancer. A study that was issued by the American Chemical Society (and published by the Daily Mail found that paraffin, scented candles can cause cancer if lit on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s important to reduce your candle usage.
An even better option is to make your own eco-friendly candles that are safer for your health and the environment. Soy Wax Candles is a great site that offers practical advice for newbie candle makers. You can also upload pictures of candles you’ve created on the site to show off your pride and joy! According to the site, container candles are a great start for beginners because no special molds are needed and you can use a variety of containers for the candle. You can also make small or large candles, depending on your needs.
Soy candles are eco-friendly and made from soy bean oil, which is a renewable resource that is biodegradable. Soy bean plants come from the legume family and they fix nitrogen in the soil which makes the soy bean a soil-sustaining crop. Soy candles are non-toxic and can also save you money because they take longer to burn than regular paraffin candles. Another benefit of using soy candles is that they burn in a clean way, avoiding a large amount of the soot that often comes with paraffin candles.
Here are some tips from Soy Wax Candles on how to make a container candle
What You’ll Need
- Pyrex measuring cup that has a 2 cup capacity
- 1 pound of soy wax flakes
- 1 ounce fragrance oil
- 1 mason jar
- 1 pre-tabbed wick (the wick depends on the size of your container – read this for tips.)
- Fill your 2 cup Pyrex with soy wax flakes. Place it in the microwave for about five minutes.
- Take it out of the microwave and stir the wax very well. It should be melted to the point where you have 15 fluid ounces of wax.
- Put a few drops of superglue in a dry mason jar and glue the tip of the wick to the bottom of the jar with a tab. Choosing a pre-tabbed wick creates the ultimate convenience because it already comes with a metal tab.
- Pour the fragrance oil into the soy wax and stir it until it has blended well.
- Fill the jar with the warm wax but do it slowly so that the glass gets used to the heat and does not break.
What are your thoughts on eco-friendly candles? Tell us in the comments box below!