11 Comments

  1. jimmy

    I would really appreciate some links to an EPA report documenting all these toxins you claim are in paraffin. For example, if paraffin is a greyish black sludge, why is it white and, when melted, completely clear?

    I would also like to see links to the claims regarding beeswax. It seems to me that anything you burn is not good for you. Since beeswax is a wax, it’s a hydrocarbon, just like paraffin. Candles will give off soot, which is not good for you at all, so I doubt the American Lung Association would approve of that.

    • Hello Jimmy: Here’s one interesting link: http://www.epa.gov/region8/compliance/nepa/tatdeis/AppendixA_Overview_of_Petroleum_Ref.pdf At the top of page A-7 it finally gets to paraffin wax after all the other stages. It shows some of the stages that get it from oil in the ground to wax; after that it gets bleached, etc., with more chemicals.
      Here’s an EPA link: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/600r01001/600R01001.pdf It’s a long document, “CANDLES AND INCENSE AS POTENTIAL SOURCES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION: MARKET ANALYSIS AND LITERATURE REVIEW”. The part about indoor air pollutants in candles begins on page 21.
      Here’s a very interesting study done by Iowa State University to determine how soy wax candles compare with paraffin, but it also includes beeswax, which comes out on top: lib3.dss.go.th/fulltext/Journal/J.AOCS/J…/no…/v.79n8p803-808.pdf/

      Interesting that I can’t find the statement given by the Lung Association any more. I’ve read that the petroleum industry exerted pressure to remove it; I’m not a conspiracy theorist but it is strange. I’ve sent them an e-mail asking about the statement. I’ll post here if I receive an answer. Many websites are quoting the same thing; it is legit.

      And finally, an Australian site: http://www.gmagazine.com.au/features/2576/versus-candles?page=0%2C0

  2. Darrell

    Hiya, thanks for your comment on Head Health Nutter’s blog. I just read this article that you linked and I have another question (sorry, it’s the information professional in me–I always like to verify claims); you mention that the American Lung Association recommends beeswax candles but I cannot find that anywhere for the life of me via a direct source (i.e. from the ALA itself), all I can find are blogs randomly mentioning this “fact”. Do you happen to have a citation? Thanks!

    • Hi Darrell: This one has me flumoxed. I actually DID get it directly from their site! When I went back later to add the link, I couldn’t find it. I wonder…”It is interesting to note that the National Candle Association, the organization that represents the candle industry in the United States, has sent me a letter asking me to cease telling the public about the dangers of paraffin. When the American Lung Association made a similar announcement last year, the NCA threatened them with legal action.” Mike Richards, president and founder of Candleworks, Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa; on Life & Health Library (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HKL/is_5_7/ai_66918312/)

      The closest I can now find is “Refrain from burning scented or slow-burning candles that have additives. Look for candles, such as bees wax [sic], that do not contain high levels of pollutants”, said to be from the American Lung Association of Minnesota and quoted on http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/candle_tips.htm in an article titled “10 Candle Tips for Consumers”. I can’t find the original quote on the ALA of Minnesota site, either. You probably noticed on your search that the only thing the Lung Association mentions is to not use scented candles. The use of candles is not mentioned anywhere else now, even when they’re talking about indoor air quality, wood-burning stoves, etc.

      The National Candle Association: I can’t imagine an organization of its size having much influence with the Lung Association, but the NCA is probably supported by the petroleum companies, so who knows? It’s all a mystery to me. All I know is that the ALA did recommend beeswax candles for those who burn candles.

  3. Darrell

    Oooh the plot thickens! I wouldn’t be surprised if some oil/petroleum lobbyist group got them to take down their statement or amend it. Yikes. Well, thank you SO MUCH for doing the research and providing it for me, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

  4. It’s unfortunate to see the spread of false presumptions based on the OPINION written by a competitor to soy wax candle companies. The statement: “All soy candles are chemically processed from the oil of genetically modified (GMO) soybeans that are commercially farmed with pesticides,” is untrue. Way Out Wax is an American based and grown soy wax candle company who uses NON-GMO soy wax. Sustainable farming IS possible for soy beans, the assumptions and assertions are unfounded. You based your article on this website opinion: http://www.alohabay.com/people/What-Chemicals-Are-in-Your-Soy-Candles.html Unfortunately, there is NO scientific basis in their opinions and due to freedom of speech, they are not required to use truth in their marketing. I urge anyone truly interested in how soy wax is created to look into the SCIENTIFIC based history and see that you are CONSUMING worse oils than a non-gmo soy candle is going to expose you to: http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/hydrogenation1.php PERFECTION is not the goal, healthier choices are…to take a competitor’s opinion and state it as fact is to spread false information and it’s ethically wrong to do so, even if it was with the best of intentions! Good luck, reputable sources are IMPORTANT!

    • Hello, Ecosafe:
      First, let me quote my very first sentence about soy wax: “SOY WAX is not a wax at all, but hydrogenated soybean oil. Soybeans are grown using high intensity farming practices with fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and chemicals, and the majority are now from genetically modified seeds.” I did not use the words you quote. I am quite aware that there are SOME candle makers who use non-GMO soy wax. I have never (until now) seen the website that you say I based my article on. I agree that sustainable farming IS possible for any crop; I sure wish it was more common. The soy info website you linked to seems to talk about hydrogenation only & the history of soy.

      I also state that “Soybean oil is heated to a high temperature (140C – 225C) and then introduced to hydrogen and nickel (a suspected carcinogen) as a catalyst to solidify the oil.” On http://www.soya.be/soy-wax-production.php, a pro-soy candle site, it states: “Hydrogenation is the process whereby the poly- and monounsaturated oils are solidified in order to increase the viscosity. This is done by reaction of hydrogen with the oil at elevated temperature (140-225°C) in the presence of a nickel catalyst.” According to http://oehha.ca.gov/air/toxic_contaminants/html/Nickel.htm (California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment): “The staffs of the Air Resources Board (ARB) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) have reviewed the available scientific evidence on the presence of nickel in the atmosphere of California and its potential adverse effect on public health. Based on findings of carcinogenicity and the results of risk and exposure assessment, the ARB and OHS staffs recommend that nickel and nickel compounds be identified as a toxic air contaminant.”

      I’m sorry, but my article is NOT spreading false information. It IS based on reputable sources! Beeswax is still the only completely natural & sustainable candle wax. I can see from your website that we both want the same thing: a safer, non-toxic world for everyone. I’ve done extensive research on everything I make & sell. (You may want to upgrade YOUR reviews!)

      Jane

  5. Ros wong

    Thank you so much for the info on candles and what they are made from Jane.
    I have severe asthma and cannot tolerate anything perfumed or smokey but love candles.
    will try beeswax!

    • Please let me know how it goes, Ros. I imagine you’ll be fine.
      I can’t bear to even walk into some of those gift stores that have all the scented candles, or the detergent aisle at the grocery store. And I don’t have asthma or allergies!
      The other alternative is to make yourself some olive oil lamps; you can find directions on-line.

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