Who doesn’t enjoy the relaxing atmosphere a scented candle creates on a stressful winter day?
Candles are magical: burn one at home and you’ll turn your bathroom into a relaxing, soothing spa. Everyone uses them: massage and beauty therapists to create the perfect atmosphere for their clients, lovers having a romantic dinner, or families to host parties and up their home decoration game. The candle’s long-lost role was to provide us with light, but with the arrival of electricity -spoiler alert- they stopped being a basic need. They come in all shapes, colors, and scents: name any fragrance, and you’ll find it –even pumpkin spice! But, before you put that kettle on and burn one, is it a paraffin candle? Hold that thought and keep reading this post!
What is paraffin wax?
Paraffin has been around since 1830, and it was an important advance in the candle-making industry because it was cheap and thought to be clean at the time. It’s a petroleum by-product, and it has to be chemically bleached and deodorized before it can be made into wax. Paraffin is mainly used to produce:
- Wax paper
- Lubrication products
- Electrical insulators
- Beauty products
Petroleum-based kerosene is used in many beauty products because its melting point matches the temperature of the human body. This is also one of the reasons why it is used to make creams and makeup.
Health risks of using paraffin candles
Most of the candles in today’s market are made of paraffin wax and, while it’s an excellent ingredient for arts and crafts when it’s burned it’s a whole different story. When you burn your favorite oat-cookie scented candle, two highly toxic chemicals are created and released into the air: toluene and benzene. Petroleum-based kerosene is used in many beauty products because its melting point matches the temperature of the human body. This is also one of the reasons why it is used to make creams and makeup.
These two are known carcinogens, and we expose ourselves to them daily through products such as candles. The toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in:
- Gasoline fumes
- Car pollution
- Air pollution
- Factory emissions
- Glues and solvents
- Cigarette smoke
So, why would we cause environmental pollution in our homes? Well, the lack of information and high prices are to blame. Thanks to the internet and the rise of communications, we are flooded with products that have always been the norm and do not usually raise questions. Paraffin wax is very cheap to produce compared to natural wax candles; therefore, candles, as we know them, are less expensive than their natural eco-friendly rivals. So, if you’ve found a mega sale on scented candles, question it and check the labels, because they’ll probably contain paraffin.
Are paraffin candles bad for the environment?
The environmental footprint of a candle is minimal, but it depends on your choice. As always, if you care about the planet, you’ll have to make some decisions. And we’re here to help!
As paraffin is a fossil fuel by-product, it’s not sustainable: we all know that burning fossil fuels have massive adverse effects (not an exhaustive list):
- Loss of natural habitats and species
- Climate Change
- Air pollution
- Oil spills
Knowing what you know now, why would you burn that strawberry-scented paraffin candle? Let’s focus on the good news, you can now make an informed decision next time you find a beautiful, scented candle at your regular supermarket!
Alternatives to paraffin candles;
To serve an eco-friendly and non-toxic option to mass-produced candles, we are proud to have Apis Cera, 100% beeswax candles available on our platform. APIS CERA is an all-natural beeswax candle company, located in Provence, France. Operated by French-Dutch beeswax specialist, Charles, his range of candles are handmade from 100% pure embossed organic beeswax in his atelier. His journey to candle making started as an ode to restoring candles to their former glory, as most of the candles on the market today are composed of paraffin, a derivative from coal. His beeswax candles are non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and non-polluting, and lightly scented with lavender essential oil.
Beeswax candles have the following benefits:
- 100% natural.
- No chemical processes involved.
- Naturally scented by the honey and nectars in the honeycomb.
- Very high melting point, which means they last super long!
- They reportedly emit “negative ions“, that is, they clean the air.
There is so much we can’t control in our lives, and we can’t expect to live in a completely harmless environment all the time. We can only try so much, but having the information and choice to use safer, healthier, and more sustainable candles for our homes is an easy starting point. So put on some jazz, dim the lights, have a cup of your favorite herbal tea, and burn that beeswax candle without having to worry about your health!
Which Apis Cera beeswax candle will you try? Leave a comment to let us know!