For people who care about the environment and animals, soy candles are an excellent vegan, cruelty-free candle choice but exactly how safe are soy candles? I thought it was a good idea to do some research before I bought my next batch and here’s what I found.
As a general rule, soy candles are safe when compared to other candle types such as paraffin or beeswax. Paraffin candles, in particular, are more toxic than candles made from soy however as with burning any type of candle, care should be taken especially when used around children or pets.
During my research, I gathered lots of information which I am more than happy to share here as well as in other articles. After reading this you may want to check out the following articles.
- Do Soy Candles Burn Clean? 3 types of candles compared
- Are Soy Candles Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
- Are Soy Candles Safe for Dogs – Should We Be Concerned?
Are Soy Candles Safe to Burn Inside?
If you’re looking for a natural approach to give a refreshing atmosphere to your room then you cannot go far wrong by burning soy candles.
Soy candles are made of vegetable wax and do not emit toxins into the air making them an excellent choice for burning indoors especially if ventilation is a concern.
When petroleum materials, such as paraffin wax, are burned, carcinogen chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde are released.
At high levels these chemicals are poisonous and although paraffin candles will not emit any like the amount a diesel car will for example if presented with other options, candles made from paraffin should be at the bottom of the list.
Soy candles, on the other hand, are non-toxic. They are free of carcinogens and poisons, unlike paraffin candles and even though they may produce a very small amount of soot when burned it is typically much less than that produced by paraffin wax candles.
Allergies from Fragrances in Soy Candles
Although vegan and cruelty-free, many soy candles contain strong fragrances and whilst this is one of the main benefits of this type of candle some people can find themselves allergic to the additives even if natural.
In one study, one in every five people reported sneezing, a runny or stuffed-up nose, itchy eyes, sinus difficulties, migraines, skin rashes, coughing, or wheezing in response to candles which actually seems a lot.
If you suffer from these symptoms when burning soy candles you could very well be allergic to the fragrance added to the product.
To avoid this, it is recommended to use natural scents over synthetic perfumes, a candle with a natural wick, and go scentless if you are extremely sensitive to smells.
NOTE: If you experience negative effects from a candle, you should discontinue use immediately.
Lead Based Wick? – Be Careful What You Buy
Although the wax itself is not harmful, we should always consider the wick and what it’s made from.
Any sort of wick can be used in soy wax candles with different wick sizes allowing for varying amounts of wax to be sucked into the flame and burned at various stages.
Previously many scented candles on the market used to have lead-core wicks. Because fragrance oils weaken the wax candle makers utilized lead to keep the wicks firm.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a candle with a lead-core wick emits five times the amount of lead considered dangerous to children and surpasses EPA pollution regulations for outdoor air (CPSC).
High lead exposure has been associated with hormone disruption, behavioural issues, learning impairments, and a variety of other health issues.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission outlawed lead wicks in 2003, but in fact, by 1974, all National Candle Association members had voluntarily decided to stop using lead wicks.
Most US and UK candle companies stopped using lead in the 1970s, but it is still used in other nations, so be cautious when purchasing from abroad.
To avoid releasing poisonous toxins into your home, choose a candle with a 100% natural wick.
It’s also important to note that if you have a candle from before 2003, you can still test for a lead wick by rubbing the tip of an unburnt candle’s wick on a piece of paper.
The wick contains a lead core if it leaves a grey mark like a pencil. Whether you have already burned a candle that you suspect has a lead wick or not, throw it out.
Soy Candles Are They a Fire Hazard?
Candles, regardless of their composition, origin or manufacture are fire hazards.
You should never leave a candle unattended, and you should avoid using candles if you have small children or pets in the house.
Before using candles you really should know the dangers of doing so ensuring you take the right amount of care to enjoy your candles safely.
Although still hazardous soy wax candles have some benefits over other types of candles.
Because soy wax candles have a lower melting point than other waxes, they are less prone to cause skin burns or stains if accidentally spilt. Furthermore, because they are biodegradable, they are less difficult to clean up than paraffin wax spills.
As discussed already, knowing your candle safely is incredibly important so I’ve provided 10 tips below which will help to make your soy candles safe to use.
How to use Candles Safely (Soy Wax or Otherwise)
In general, with the exception of people who suffer from allergies, correctly burning candles in your house is unlikely to be hazardous or harmful to your health however there are certain things you can do to make candles even safer for your household.
Here are 10 candle safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
1. Ensure there is proper ventilation
The issue with candle emissions is not always the level of emissions, but rather a lack of ventilation. Even though you may not realise it modern houses are usually well ventilated but if you are in any doubt whilst the candle is burning, open a window – but do keep the candle out of the draft.
2. Have allergies? Avoid using scented candles
Opt for unscented, natural wax candles if you are sensitive to fragrance. If you like the smell of candles, use natural essential oils rather than scented chemical oils.
3. Don’t forget to blow it out
Candles left unattended are a significant cause of house fires so make sure when you leave the room you blow the candle out.
4. Tired? Make sure to extinguish the candle
If you are extremely tired or start to feel yourself falling asleep make sure you extinguish any burning candles.
In the US alone falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 30% of the associated deaths.Morningside Volenteers FD
5. Never leave a candle to burn unattended
Seems an obvious point but one many people fail to follow. Leaving any open flame is extremely dangerous and is the cause of many house fires.
6. Don’t leave a child alone with a burning candle
Children of any age are not always in tune with their surroundings and may not notice issues arising from a burning candle. Whilst older children may be all too aware of the dangers of candles, younger kids see the naked flame as exciting or something to explore. My advice is only to light candles once the kids are in bed.
7. Use proper candle holders
To ensure your candles do not slip or fall over it’s always best to use the correct holder or container for the type of candle you’re burning and most importantly, never improvise with a holder that doesn’t hold the candle firmly.
8. Check the age of your candle
Candle wicks used to be made from lead which is now known to be highly toxic. If you have an old candle and are not sure what the wick is made from do not burn it, rather discard it in an appropriate manner.
9. Light your candle the right way
When lighting candles ensure you use a long match or lighter. Many burn accidents happen when people use small matches and the candle wick doesn’t take. If this happens do not let the match burn to your fingers, rather use another match to avoid burning yourself.
10. Avoid burning candles around pets
It’s not advisable to burn candles around pets, particularly dogs and cats as they don’t see the dangers we do and can knock into the candle or the furniture that the candle is on and cause a fire. If you do burn candles with your pet in the room, as with children do leave them unattended.
So there we have it, soy candles are certainly no less safe than any other candles and are actually much better options than candles made from paraffin.
If you are using paraffin candles why not make the switch to soy candles today? If you do, make sure to check the label to ensure that the wax is 100% natural, it’s not blended with paraffin and it doesn’t have a lead wick.
Time to relax!