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Can candles be hazardous to your health?

Updated on December 20, 2014

Think twice before you burn...

Did you know that candle manufacturers are not required to list or disclose hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic compounds used as ingredients in their products or even place warning labels on their products regarding emissions? These hazards are affiliated with 3 different types of candles.

The first one is Paraffin candles. --Most candles, unless otherwise labeled, are made from paraffin, a by-product of the gasoline industry. They produce the same combustion by-products as any other burning petrochemical , though in a lesser amount. Fumes from the paraffin wax itself have been found to cause kidney and bladder tumors in laboratory animals. Some paraffin candles still have lead core wicks.

The second one is Scented candles.--With the sudden popularity of aromatherapy, many in-experienced and newbie candlemakers have jumped into the manufacturing of candles to make huge profits of the demand without the proper training or know how. Candlemakers are using high amounts of fragrance oils into their wax mixtures. Not all of them are even suitable for combustion. Toxic chemicals that have been found in the combustion by-products of some scented candles are acetone, benzene, trichlorofluoromethane, carbon disulfide, 2- butanone, 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, toluene, chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, xylene, phenol, cresol, cyclopentene, lead, carbon monoxide, soot, and particulate matter.

The third candle is the Gel candle. --Gel candles are made from specially processed petrochemical mineral oils gelled with plastic polymers, and then poured into glass containers. You can differentiate gel candles by the clearness of the gel (often colored), the rubbery texture, the glass container, and they often have embeds in them. Most gel candles are also scented with artificial fragrances. Because gel candles are made from the same petrochemicals and fragrances used to make paraffin candles, the hazards of burning them are similar. However, the greatest danger is that candles that are improperly made or have glass containers that are too thin tend to explode. This could result in a fairly tragic inconvenience trip to the emergency room.

If you enjoy burning scented candles, make sure they are true aromatherapy candles that are scented with true essential oils. If the label isn't clear about this, call the manufacturer before purchasing. You don't want to place your family or yourself in danger, and you don't want to support the un-experienced newbies who apparently don't care about you.


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    • profile image

      mrhines04 8 years ago

      Q. What kind of wax is used when making Scentsy Bars?


      We use a custom, food-grade paraffin wax blend. Our wax blend is designed for a specific scent-load

      and melt point.

      Q. What kind of oil does Scentsy use in its products?


      Key fragrance oil.

    • profile image

      annalaurabrown 9 years ago

      This is why I love natural veggie candles so much.

    • gabriella05 profile image

      gabriella05 10 years ago from Oldham

      Thank you for the information I use candle a lots

      Take care

    • knslms profile image

      knslms 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Glad I could be of help =)

    • trakker14 profile image

      trakker14 10 years ago from franklin

      Thank you for that bit of wisdom,...I had just lit about 6 candles thruout my home..I am going to blow them all now till i check for ingredients. thanks