CLEAN BURNING — Soy wax is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin, with no petrol-carbon soot which can blacken walls, ceilings, and furniture, contaminate ventilation ductwork in your home, as well as add toxic carcinogens into the air you breathe.
LONG BURNING — Soy candles burn slower and cooler than paraffin wax, creating a longer burning candle.
RENEWABLE RESOURCE — Soybeans are a renewable source, unlike paraffin, which consists of petroleum.
BIODEGRADABLE — Since soybeans are vegetables, soy wax (basically made from hydrogenated soybean oil) is naturally biodegradable. Soy wax is also easier to remove from materials and other surfaces than paraffin wax.
HELPS THE FARMERS — Buying soybean products creates important economic growth for the agricultural sector of the US economy. Soy candles are simply better for you, your family, and your environment.
There are four main reasons many people avoid buying petroleum (paraffin) products:
- Petroleum smoke/exhaust contains many carcinogenic toxins and produces ugly black soot
- Petroleum is not a renewable resource and it is of a limited supply
- Burning petroleum products creates air pollution and contributes to global warming
- Paraffin candles contain up to 11 carcinogenic compounds. These 11 compounds have been deemed ‘toxic air contaminants’ by the State of California. An air quality researcher, David Krause, has documented evidence that candle soot particles contain many of the same compounds given off from burning diesel fuel.
In the Nov/Dec 2000 edition of the Emagazine, in an article titled, ‘The Inside Scoop,’ Kathleen O’Neil writes that a recent study of residents in both residential and an industrial areas found chemical levels in the subjects’ bodies indicating they had received doses of pollutants in their homes five to 70 times higher than the highest outdoor levels. Burning candles are listed in the article as contributing their share of indoor pollution.
Health hazards are being created when paraffin (petroleum-based wax) is mixed with synthetic fragrance (some not even meant for combustion), and are compounded with chemical fixatives, synthetic glosses and bleached cotton wicks. Health problems have been more evident in the past five or so years due to the increase in popularity of highly scented candles. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of home and furniture damage have been reported, causing a battle with insurance companies and retailers of the candles.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of the human population is not aware of candle ingredients, although awareness is growing. One reason is that candle ingredients are not required to be listed, and labels are often worded in such a way that some consumers think they are buying healthy, aromatherapy candles, when in reality the candle is mostly a petroleum wax, synthetic scent, synthetic fixatives, with a little bit of plant essential oil added in. Even if a candle is labeled as being made of beeswax, often there is paraffin as well. The wicks are usually made of chemically grown cotton that has been bleached using dioxins. Wicks that have a metal, or zinc core, contain small amounts of lead.
Most department stores provide no other option than to buy paraffin candles. However, some natural food stores have began carrying plant-wax candles.
Greenspace’s soy wax candles contain no lead, no petroleum, no chemical/synthetic fixatives or glosses, no animal products/by-products, and we use 100% naturally grown hemp fiber wicks. Our plant wax is 100% biodegradable and produces very little soot with 0% petrol-soot emissions.
For more information on the damage that is occurring within the aromatic candle industry
Links to articles regarding reducing candle soot
EPA Report: Candles & Incense
General information on how to reduce soot emissions
Essential Oil vs. Fragrance
Greenspace offers two lines of soy candles, one fragranced only with essential oils, called Pure Aromatherapy, and a second fragranced artificially with regular candle fragrance.
It may seem contradictory to offer artificially fragranced candles given the information that follows, but we do try to educate people as to the toxicity and let them make their own educated decision. We believe that an artificially fragranced soy candle is healthier and much cleaner burning (less soot in your home) than an artificially fragranced paraffin candle.
There are two main types of materials used for aroma: essential oils/plant extracts and fragrant chemicals. (Fragrant chemicals \are usually derived from petroleum and sometimes animal sources.) Essential oils have the longest history, being used for fragrance and medicine for thousands of years. Essential oils are extracted from trees, bushes, flowers, and shrubs from all over the world, and each oil has its own unique chemical makeup. The word ‘aromatherapy’ literally means ‘therapy through aroma or scent,’ without specifying the source of the scent. However, in practice, aromatherapy uses only essential oils, and no other form of scent. The oils can be used simply for their fragrance and its effects on mood and emotion, but in professional practice their physiological, or bio-chemical, effect is central.
In the mid 1970’s, extremely powerful fragrant chemicals were synthesized, most likely to be able to attain aromas not naturally available in such a usable form, and to be able to duplicate, or copy the real aromas less expensively. These materials began being used at higher and higher levels over the last 20 years, and are the basis for the intense and long lasting characteristics of modern fragrance formulations. In the US, such fragrant chemicals do not have to be tested for safety before being used in fragrance formulas.
Since many lotions, candles, incense, potpourri and other body care items have been made with more and more fragrance over the years, many people have found that they have began to experience negative effects such as headaches, dizziness, or nausea from them. This awareness, along with the desire to naturally prevent illness or heal oneself without using drugs, has spawned a renewed interest in aromatherapy, or use of essential oils. However, essential oils can cause similar reactions in certain people if they are allergic to particular scents, or if they are exposed to too much at one time.
Sometimes candle manufactures will combine artificial fragrances with essential oils, often deceiving the consumer into thinking that there are ONLY essential oils in the candle. Many of the aromatherapy products common on the market, even if they are called “natural”, are often diluted with synthetic chemicals to reduce manufacturing cost. Synthetic substances and artificial fragrances may be able to replicate the smell of a botanical fragrance, but it is the complex components of each essential oil, created by nature, that determines its therapeutic and true aromatic qualities. Many synthetic fragrance chemicals pose a wide range of immediate and long-term health hazards.
Toxic Synthetic Fragrances
In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences targeted synthetic fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. The report states that 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers, which are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. US House of Representatives, Sept. 16, 1986) [Report 99-827]
Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer in Fragrance Products
Methylene chloride, a known carcinogen that also causes autoimmune disease, is listed as one of the 20 most common chemicals found in fragrance products in the 1991 EPA study, even though the FDA banned the chemical in all cosmetic and fragrance products in 1989. Limonene, also listed as one of the 20 most common chemicals, is a known carcinogen. Benzaldehyde, one of the 20 most common chemicals in the EPA’s fragrance study, is a sensitizer. According to the Merck Index, it is also a narcotic.
Candles, no matter the type, may burn a bit differently due to many factors. A common complaint about candles is that the flame is small and that they have small burn pools. In other words, they burn a small hole down the middle of the candle instead of melting all the way out to the sides. Not only does this reduce the amount of light created by the candle, but it significantly reduces your total burn time when a bunch of wax remains.
Primary causes of this include the following
The length of time the candle is burned at each sitting is not long enough.
Try to burn candles long enough each time so that the entire top layer melts to the sides before being extinguished. (This pertains mostly to candles in containers versus freestanding ones.) This is of most importance the first time you burn a candle in a glass container, because it will look nicer as the candle burns down to have it clean and clear on top. A general guideline is to try to burn candles at least an hour each time for each inch the candle is in diameter. This way the wax has a chance to melt down from the sides. Equally important, each time a candle is blown out, the top part of the wick smokes away, leaving a shorter wick and more wax for the next burn, so the less number of times
you extinguish it, the better, if you are only burning the candle a few hours or less each time. (If you burn candles in long sittings, over about five hours each time, you may find that the wick becomes rather long. If this is the case, your candle will look nicer and last longer if you trim the wick, which can be done carefully while
it’s burning, every four hours or so. Usually with our candles, cutting it in half works well, which is down to an 1/8-1/4 of an inch.)
Temperature of surroundings
Tip: Store candles away from cold sources such as near windows in the winter. If you keep a candle outside in the cold or near a cold window, the wax will be cold and will melt slower when burning than if the wax was room temperature (65-75 degrees F). This may result in a small flame and wax being left on the sides.
Wick not centered
Tip: If you notice that the burn pool is not centered, while
the candle is burning use a non-flamable item (such as a metal nail file or silverware) and gently push the base of the wick toward the correct direction.