Why You Should Be Buying Clean-Burning Candles

Living in a country that has 8 months of cold weather, candles are a staple for many Canadians. When I first started this business, I wanted to be as informed as possible on the safety of burning candles, and how they affected our bodies and environment before making my very own candle. I knew the benefits of burning a soy, beeswax or coconut wax candle, but what I really wanted to educate myself on was how dangerous regular paraffin wax candles are.

As much as we all love a good candle the question that we need to ask ourselves is: How will this candle affect my breathing? How much harm am I putting my body in by not burning clean candles?

When you start looking for your perfect candle, there are a few things you should keep in mind: the type of wax used, the type of wick used, and the type of fragrance used.

The Wax

Conventional candles, usually mass-produced, are typically made from paraffin wax, a by-product of petroleum. Paraffin waxes are harmful to both the environment, humans, our children, and our fur babies. It’s true that paraffin waxes emit a strong scent, and are less expensive to make and buy, but at what cost to our health? 

As paraffin burns, it creates toxic benzene and toluene chemicals, both of which are known carcinogens. Breathing them in is as bad for your health as second-hand smoke! Gross. On top of that, many paraffin candles contain dyes and toxic fragrances. Put all of these together and you've got a case of awful lung issues, cardiac problems, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and allergies.

Beeswax is a beautiful wax but is not vegan friendly as does have a large impact on the bee population in North America. Harvesting beeswax can cause harm and death to the bee colonies, and while some companies harvest beeswax in a way that helps to protect bees, the processes used don’t come without risk of hive disruption, damage, or accidental bee death. 

Soy & Coconut wax are both biodegradable and renewable resources and can be labelled as clean-burning. 100% Soy wax does not emit toxins or contain the benzene and toluene that paraffin candles do. Your home will remain soot-free and you can rest assured there are no carcinogenic being emitted, not second-hand smoke to worry about. On a final note, soy wax burns slower meaning you get to keep your candles for way longer. About 50% more to be exact.

The Wicks

I am sure you have all seen and purchased a cotton wick candle. Cotton wicks are a common wick option for many candle brands, but did you know that many cotton wicks also contain harmful metals like lead? Yup. Ever wonder how candle wicks stand up so straight? Many cotton wicks use a lead core to help with the wick stability but at a cost. The problem is that the lead then vaporizes into the air and we are not supposed to be inhaling lead. Why? 

“Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and even death, while even low levels result in neurobehavioral changes, depression, irritability, aggressiveness, difficulty concentrating and lethargy.” (US Centre for Disease Control).

I do use cotton wicks in my business for some vintage candles, and I can proudly say they are 100% cotton core wicks, with no lead or metals to be found. But let’s talk about the real winner here which are wooden wicks. Wooden wicks emit a pleasing crackle, and I have chosen to use wood wicks because they do not leave traces of metal and are sustainably farmed and sourced. In addition to being eco-friendly, wooden wicks achieve a fast melt pool for excellent hot throw and have no debris or soot.

The Fragrance

Many cheaper, mass-produced candles often use synthetic fragrances that contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and parabens. 

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften PVC plastic (the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer), as well as solvents in cosmetics and household products, and can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, if consumed in large amounts. What is strange to me, is that the US and Europe have imposed laws against phthalates in children’s toys, but there are no rules against phthalates in candles - and in Canada, we are still allowed to have small amounts of phthalates in our products( Canadian Government)

At Simple Ritual, we only use paraben + phthalate-free premium fragrance oils and pure essential oils. As a cancer survivor, it is of the utmost importance that my products are clean. It would be really shitty if I beat cancer twice and then got it a third time because I was breathing in harmful chemicals from a candle. It's 2021 people and I think it's about time we put intentions towards making better choices, starting with our candles.