You may ask the question "What is Paraffin?"
What is the big difference between a soy candle and a paraffin candle?
Paraffin candles begin at the bottom of an oil barrel; in fact, they start as a grayish-black sludge that has been rejected by the oil and gas industry. This petroleum by-product is then bleached with 100% industrial strength bleach, creating toxic dioxins, and changing the colour to the pleasant whiteness (the bleach you use for laundry – which even at full strength is only at 10%). Acrolyn, a known carcinogenic chemical, is then added to form the white sludge into solid white blocks. Although the industry claims this substance is inert, once burned, paraffin releases carcinogenic toxins such as benzene and toluene into the air you breathe. Other chemicals are added to make paraffin burn a little longer and look prettier. Candle manufacturers will then add other chemicals to provide texture and colour to the candles. Unfortunately, the end result is a very toxic product.
Burning paraffin fills the air with many of the same toxins found in burning diesel fuel, not to mention the soot residue on your walls, fabrics and ceilings. An increasing number of indoor air quality scientists are sounding the alarm about the ability of candles to emit pollutants like benzene, styrene, toluene, acetone and particulate matter into the air, and, when airborne, these chemicals are subject to inhalation. Airborne particles can potentially penetrate the deepest areas of the lungs, the lower respiratory tract and alveoli (Krause, 1999). This problem is so severe that North America’s largest indoor air quality conference recently presented research on the effects of black soot from paraffin candles.
Believe it or not, scented candles are a major source of candle soot deposition. Most candle wax paraffins are saturated hydrocarbons that are solid at room temperature and most fragrance oils are unsaturated hydrocarbons and are liquid at room temperature. The lower the carbon-to-hydrogen ratio, the less soot is produced by the flame. Therefore, waxes that have more fragrances in them produce more soot. In other words, candles labeled "super scented" are more likely to generate soot.
If that isn't enough, the candle industry uses metal core wicks to keep the wick standing straight while the surrounding wax melts. These metal cores were initially made of lead, which have the potential to generate indoor airborne lead concentrations of health concern. In 1974, the candle manufacturing industry recognized this potential health concern and voluntarily agreed to cease the production of lead contaminated candles. However, lead wicks are still found in the market, especially in imported candles, so it is possible for the consumer to unknowingly purchase candles containing lead wick cores and repeatedly expose themselves to harmful amounts of lead through candle burning. The EPA has stated that indoor air quality is 3X more polluted than outdoor air quality and a 2000 study found that there is an increase in lead concentrations in our indoor air (Sobel et al., 2000).
The Solution: Burn only 100% Pure Soy Skore Candles!
The difference is the wax. Paraffin wax is the final by-product of the petroleum refining chain. It's what's leftover...even after the asphalt is extracted! It releases potentially harmful petroleum pollutants in the air, including several known carcinogens, according to the EPA. You may find that burning a paraffin candle leaves the surrounding furnishings and walls covered in a black residue. This certainly doesn't seem like something you'd want to breathe-in, either. There have been many studies done suggesting even more health risks from burning paraffin wax. Rather than continuing to focus on how bad another type of candle might be for you, we recommend you do a little research on paraffin for your own peace of mind, and we'll shift the focus to soy wax.
Soy wax is made from soy beans, which are a renewable resource that is grown here in North America. This vegetable wax burns much cleaner and does not produce the toxins that paraffin emits. Also, soy wax burns at a lower temperature than candles made with paraffin wax. This gives you not only a healthier environment, but a candle with longer burn times. Additionally, because of the lower temperature at which a soy candle burns, and if the candle is "wicked" properly, the soy candle will leave minimal wax residue on the sides of the container as it burns. Soy wax is biodegradable and just plain environmentally-friendly!
In addition to soy and paraffin candles, there are candles made with "soy-blends". This is a combination wax created by mixing paraffin and soy together. Be aware that a candle can be called a soy candle with as little as 25% soy wax