Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making Our Homes Candle-safe

Besides the danger of fire, could there be another hidden danger in burning candles? I learned the other day that the American Lung Association issued a warning stating that candles are fast becoming one of the most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air quality. This is because paraffin is the predominant wax used in the candle industry. Paraffin is used in making asphalt and is the final byproduct in the petroleum refining chain.

The experts say that the soot given off from the burning of paraffin candles is the same as that given off by burning diesel fuel. Some of the air contaminants in paraffin fumes include toluene, benzene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and naphthalene--substances found in paint, lacquer and varnish removers.

People should realize that most oils used in scented candles are also  petroleum-based synthetics and not the natural plant-derived essential oils.

Vegetable materials such as soybean and palm are natural choices that burn clean. Soybean wax burns the cleanest of all waxes and longer than paraffin, as well as beeswax.

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, this is another area where we must be careful.


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