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the dark side of lighting candles

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There are many things to consider when journeying to a healthy lifestyle including indoor air quality and specifically the candles we burn. People light candles to make their homes smell nice or to set the mood but are candles the safe + healthy way to go?

The Problem with Conventional Candles

According to the EPA indoor environment is two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment. This is CRAZY-ness! A majority of this issue stems from using harmful chemicals in our homes and on our bodies. So what's wrong with candles? Most conventional candles use parrafin wax which is made from the residue leftover from oil refining. Yuck! Other common ingredients in candles include: acetone, trichlorofluoromethane, carbon disulfide, 2-butanone, trichloroethane, trichloroethene, carbon tetrachloride, tetrachloroethene, chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, xylene, phenol, cresol, cyclopentene. Many common candle ingredients are possible carcinogens. Not only are they unsafe but the offgass from burning them is a concern as well.  The soot from these candles can contain toxic chemicals including toluene and benzene, volatile organic compounds linked to cancer and neurological damage. Another danger of conventional candles is that most contain a lead wick which burns and omits offgasses in our homes and our lungs. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems. Artificial scents and dyes are also to blame. 

The Problem with Conventional Air Fresheners

You may think that air fresheners are the way to go - think again! Air fresheners emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as nitrogen dioxide. Most even contain paradicholorbenzene, a toxin commonly found in mothballs. The compounds released can cause headaches, allergies, and eye, nose, throat irritation, and more! What? You heard that right!

The Solution
There are many safe candles and candle alternatives out there. Look for a soy or 100% beeswax candle with an organic cotton wick. Soy and beeswax are renewable resources and are non-toxic. Both of these options also burn longer than a conventional wax. But watch out … make sure that the soy candle is organic to ensure that it is not made from genetically modified soy (GMO), and that the beeswax is sourced from a local cooperative. (Bonus tip: with the current bee crisis, choose to support businesses and brands that strive to sustain the bee population). Look for candles made with 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and opt for non-colored candles to avoid toxic dyes. A great candle alternative would be a Room + Linen Spray. Preferably one that is organic and nontoxic. :)
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