All You Need is Within You

Dawn James~ Speaker, Author, Healer
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Detox Your Life - part 7 of 8

The following is a series of weekly tips to detox your life

TIP#7 Light the Right Candles  

Candles may add warmth and atmosphere of a home, but some candles can contribute to an indoor air pollution problem by emitting particulate matter (candle soot) into the air.

It appears that petroleum-based (paraffin) candles and scented and/or aromatic candles are the worst offenders of air pollution. Most candles on the market today are made from paraffin wax or a blend of paraffin and other waxes. Paraffin is a derivative of petroleum. When burned they release carcinogenic toxins such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and soot into the air. The emissions from paraffin candles contain many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel. It is like starting up a diesel engine inside you home!

Scented candles may trigger allergic reactions. The symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, sore throat, blocked nasal passages, headaches, hives, skin irritations and asthma-like conditions. People with asthma and respiratory allergies may experience more severe reactions.

Gel candles are also petroleum-based. Although there are urban myths circulating on the internet that claim they explode; that is not really a problem.  The glass container can shatter from excessive heat (but not explode) and they can emit the same toxins as paraffin candles.

Safer, natural alternatives to paraffin based candles


Soy candles generally last 30% longer than petroleum-based candles. Soy candles burn slower and cooler, are non-toxic, less likely to trigger allergies, clean up with soap and water, and produce very little soot. This tends to make them more animal and child-friendly than traditional candles. Soy candles are labeled explicitly, so if it does not say Soy on the label, it isn't. Soy candles have a more opaque appearance and usually have with a whitish film.

Beeswax is returning to popularity. Beeswax is less likely to trigger allergies. It generally does not produce toxins or soot when burned. It tends to be more expensive than paraffin candles but also burns longer. Do read the labels, as some manufacturers may have added paraffin.

Source: Environmental Health and Safety online


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