You Breathe What You Burn
Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of discussion about the ingredients and candle additives in candles. A great deal of concern has been expressed over the potential health effects of burning candles and we have even been verbally attacked in regard to our candles. As a result, we have compiled the following and we welcome your comments.
So, what’s In Legendary Candles?
At The Legendary Candle Company, we can tell you exactly what is in our candles as our candles are made of the finest ingredients possible, with nothing added that we cannot explain in simple terms.
First of all, Food Grade Paraffin Wax
We use a blend of food-grade, paraffin waxes as the primary ingredient in our candles. So as a result, they burn clean, and do not release “aromatic compounds” like benzene and toluene.
Also, Our waxes meet the requirements of 21 CFR Section 172.886 & 21 CFR Section 178.3710.
We use the finest essential oil based candle fragrance oils on the market. And, we test our oils to insure the quality.
Our candles also contain:
- Clean cotton wicks with either zinc or paper cores.
- Dyes to color the wax.
That is it, there is nothing more in our candles. On that, you have our word.
So What’s In Other Candles?
Candles are everywhere, and seem to be made of just about anything that will burn. Therefore, what is in the candle you look at is what should concern you as a candle buyer.
Heavy Metal Candles?
Vegetable candles include all those made from vegetable oils (soywax, cottonseed, palm, and canola). The proponents of vegetable wax would have you believe a lot of claims about their product. They quote studies about the dangers of other waxes however, you rarely see a review of their own wax.
Vegetable wax is fully hydrogenated vegetable oil and the process of hydrogenation creates trans-fatty acids to solidify the oil into a wax. In order to do this, vegetable oil is exposed to extreme temperatures, hydrogen gas, and a metal catalyst, usually Raney’s metal (50% Aluminum-50% Nickel). Other alloys used in this process can include Cadmium and Copper.
The American Soy Association admits that the removal of excess nickel from hydrogenated soybean oil is an issue in the industry but the real question here is if we aren’t supposed to eat trans-fatty acids, why would we want to burn them and inhale the byproducts of that burning?
Additionally, soybean oil is extracted from the soybeans by using Hexane, a petro-chemically derived solvent that is also used as a solvent in glue and as industrial degreaser. Hexane is known to have neurological effects in humans and long-term exposure to Hexane has caused polyneuropathy in humans and as a result, the EPA has classified Hexane as a Group D toxic substance.
If that isn’t enough to make vegetable wax seem undesirable, data from the soy industry and Purdue University suggests a number of issues with the product. Vegetable wax oxidizes when exposed to heat, like melting it to pour candles or burning those candles.While it has a shelf life of two years when never heated. When it oxidizes, vegetable wax will first start to smell bad or “beany.” After a while, this smell will turn into a “fishy, paint smell.”
- From the American Soy Association (based in Europe for some reason?)
- The Purdue University Study
- Info from Dr. Andrew Weil
- hydrogenated Fat Information from CyberParent.com
Sludge and Scale, Oh My!
Your average paraffin candle, including those in most discount and department stores are made of this grade of petroleum wax. This type of wax is marked by heavy black soot deposition and some odd odors.So, this is the paraffin that vegetable wax proponents decry the evils of. This is the stuff that the American Lung Association and the EPA warn releases benzene, toluene, and other heavy solvents into the air.
The EPA itself remarks that the difference in soot deposits from one candle maker to another can be as much as 100 times different.
Sources and Links
- From a KSL Channel 5, Salt Lake City, Utah story
- A great candle safety article with warnings about candle additives
Finally, Candle Additives
Glue, accelerants, and inhibitors
Candle manufacturers add all sorts of interesting chemicals to their candles to make them burn longer, make them burn faster, keep their color from fading, and to bind alcohol based fragrances to the wax. So some of them are listed below.
TinuvinTM and Other UV Inhibitors
This keeps candles from fading yet nobody seems to want to talk about who makes it or what is in it. While one source of such chemicals appears to be from China. The chemicals are not listed as to whether or not they are toxic, suggested uses include fade resistant paint, PVC, lawn furniture, and polystyrene. The chemical names of these substances both end with benzophenone (any relation to benzene maybe?).
VybarTM Scent Binder and Color Enhancer
This polyalphaolefin makes colors brighter, supposedly, and helps bind the scent to the wax. This specific product is made in the United States by a large chemical company but the company does not list any Material Safety Data Sheet information on its website for this product. Almost every major petro-chemical company manufactures polyalphaolefins, hydrogenated synthetic hydrocarbon oils. These chemicals are also used as synthetic motor, gear, and hydraulic oils; floor wax modifiers; printing ink levelers; plasticizer for rubber; flow modifier in coil coatings; and high gloss water proofing for leathers.