Soy V Paraffin


The summary is that SOY releases significantly less toxins than burning paraffin which is a derivative of petroleum.

Is Paraffin safe? We use it in medical applications, vaseline, moisturisers and it’s refined. So of course it is. Until you BURN IT in a closed environment.

If you look at recent scientific research such as those from the South Carolina State University – they studied refined petroleum-based and vegetable-source candles to determine their emissions. They let candles from different manufacturers burn for up to six hours in a small box (8 inches x 8 inches x 26 inches), and then collected and analyzed substances released into the air.

They found that paraffin-based candles — the most popular kind — emitted toxic chemicals like toluene and benzene. Soybean candles did not, according to the study, which was presented at the American chemical society D.C. Candles made of beeswax or soybean tend to make mention of that ingredient on their label; paraffin candles may not.

But not satisfied with that I wanted to research a little deeper which I think is important. There are many blogs which support both and mention that even 100% Soy needs a small amount of paraffin to burn, someone mentioned using Essential Oils are dangerous and I found evidence to support that as it changes the chemical composition releasing toxins when burning as does adding some dyes. You could then argue that melting the wax (not boiling it) in a burner as opposed to a candle reduces toxins even further.

South Carolina State University experts analysed the fumes released by burning candles in lab tests. They found paraffin wax candles gave off harmful fumes linked to lung cancer and asthma – but admitted it would take many years’ use to risk health.

HOWEVER Dr Noemi Eiser, medical director at the British Lung Foundation, said in response to the above “We would like to reassure people that occasional use of paraffin candles should not pose any risk to their lung health.” But she added people should still take “sensible precautions” such as ventilating rooms when burning candles.

So the above to me says that Paraffin releases toxins, like petrol, passive cigarette smoke and diesel fumes but in small quantities doesn’t pose a risk Soy on the other hand contains a small amount of paraffin but the danger here lies with what it is eventually mixed with.

As stated by South Carolina State University, long-term exposure to the emissions from certain types of candles could be dangerous to human health, based on poor indoor air quality. The lead researcher placed different candles in an enclosed space designed to trap and test the emitted gas.

When researchers tested petroleum-based paraffin wax, they found undesired chemicals after burning. These included toluene, alkanes and alkenes — all known to harm human health. In comparison, vegetable-based soy candles did not produce toxic chemicals.

Further research by “Massoudi” who is a Doctor and can be contacted here states that “Most consumers purchase the usually inexpensive petroleum-based candles to fragrant an environment or inspire a mood. Massoudi noted, a possible increase in production and demand for soy candles could attribute to a decline of health risks caused by paraffin candles and help disadvantaged small farmers diversify their crops to yield more revenue. SOY wax components, cites Massoudi, are also renewable and biodegradable. “

Full article from his research here

The list goes on from research that doesn’t spin any positive benefits of Paraffin candles. “Other toxic chemicals that may be present in the paraffin mixture and released through burning include: Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene. Some of the toxins are found in other products such as paint, laquer and varnish removers– that’s potent and powerful stuff!” There are more links and discussion from this extract here (from Keeper of the Home)

In 2005, when the American Lung Association issued a warning to the public about the dangers of paraffin the National Candle Association (NCA) threatened them with legal action. The NCA has also sent letters to others who tried to warn the public. As was previously noted, paraffin is made from leftover residue of the final petroleum refining process. The wealthy oil industry (which not only sells their by-products to the candle industry but also has four members sitting on the board of the National Candle Association) has assumed a very dominant position in the candle manufacturing business. But again the following links may prove interesting to this group.

But then I remembered an article from a couple of years ago which mentioned regardless of wax choice the wick itself caused the damage to 2 small children that actually ended up with soot marks in their nose. You can read this for yourself here…/ No mention of wax type but then at the end it suggests using essential oils as a safe alternative so that took me to start looking at Essential Oils and are they safe and I wanted to look at the point about EO being full of chemicals.

Indeed some Essential Oils can produce a second state when mixed with the air, rather like an aerosol which can cause breathing difficulties. This article explores this idea…/How-aromatherapy-oils-poison-T… But I wanted to know, relevant to this group, the effects on actually burning the oils in candles.

The candle flame and essential oil components appear to work together for a sterilizing effect, say the researchers and if you read the article you will read that beta-pinene and may chang when burned in a candle actually destroys bacteria. So a good start to using EO in candles! Source here…/candles-with-essential-oils-kill-ba….

I did read about warnings of using synthetic fragrances in candles but again couldn’t find anything that supported pure essential oils being dangerous when burned within a candle. I do believe however that we all have a duty of care as candle makers to produce SDS sheets. Safety Data Sheets are law if a product contains 0.1% of a carcinogenic ingredient.

Other sources used which you may find useful on the Soy V Paraffin debate are here.……

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