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Are Soy Wax Candles Toxic?

02 September, 2019

Australian Bush soy candle by ForCandles

Read Time: 4 minutes

The short answer is no.

The question, is of course, rather an open-ended one and definitely there for interpretation. Are all soy candles the same? And what does toxic actually mean in this instance?

Let’s tackle the first part. Are all soy candles the same? Again, the simple answer is no they are not all the same.  You would hope that a candle maker who states their candles are made from soy wax does exactly that. So, let’s for now take that on face value. The question you need to be asking is: Is the soy candle made 100% from soy wax?

Many, if not most, candles proclaiming their soy heritage are made from a blended wax i.e. soy wax plus another wax or waxes. If a candle maker does not say that their candles are 100% soy, then I’ll stick my neck out and say those candles are made from a blend of different types of wax. Why do many candle makers use wax blends? Because candles made from 100% soy are difficult to make.

The technical issues facing candle makers who use soy wax will be written about on another occasion. It is because of these difficulties than many makers blend soy wax with paraffin wax and/or palm wax. The most common soy wax blend is soy blended with paraffin.

Paraffin is a petrochemical. In other words, a chemical product derived from petroleum. Paraffin wax is a by-product of the production of petroleum from crude oil. In fact, paraffin wax production is a part of the process of refining lubrication oil.

Burning candles containing paraffin is a little like being in the garage with the engine running and the garage door shut. Not pleasant and decidedly bad for you. It has been found that the burning of candles containing paraffin causes the release of toluene and benzene fumes. These fumes are toxic. Poisonous and harmful. The worst effects of toluene are exhibited by breathing it in. Toluene can cause respiratory issues, eye irritations and even brain lesions. Benzene is a very well-known carcinogen, a vigorous cancer agent that causes leukemia, and is clearly best avoided.

Candles made from 100% premium soy wax, supplied by reputable companies, do not produce toxic fumes as a result of burning soy wax. To go another step further; the processing of soybean oil to make soy wax, removes any pesticide and herbicide residues and that’s a good thing. Also, candles made from 100% soy wax are less ‘smokey’ when they burn than those made with paraffin or wax blends. No one wants to be breathing in smokey particles.

A final note on the use of wicks in candles. Obviously, an important part of a candle the wick. But not all wicks are the same. Look for candle makers who state that the wicks they use are free from lead, zinc and other metals. Lead is a well-known toxin and breathing in lead fumes from candles that use metal in their wicks is a definite no-no.

Ask questions of candle makers. Do not just assume that because a candle states that it is made using soy wax that it is made from 100% soy wax. Far from it. No one wants to be chucking toxic chemicals into their living space whilst they are enjoying the scent and ambiance of a fragrant candle.

ForCandles only uses wax that is 100% premium soy wax in its handcrafted candles. It does not use paraffin wax or soy wax blended with paraffin and its wicks are pure cotton and do not contain lead, zinc or other metals.Click here to check out our range


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