The Truth About Scented Candles

I love candles! I just find them so comforting and my friends and family just know if there is any type of event in my home, you will find candles burning all over the place. Not only do they make your home smell delicious, but they just have that inviting, relaxing, cozy charm about them. In the past, I always searched for the strongest smelling candles too. During the holidays, I would get so excited for Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle to come out with their new pumpkin, cinnamon and pine scented candles. I would even stock up so that I always had back up on hand. But the truth is, these and most conventional candles are toxic!

Recently I started to hear more and more about the dangers of fragrance and candles so I did my research and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. If you are a candle lover like myself, it’s not the most fun news to hear, but there are some great non-toxic, yummy smelling alternatives out there that I will also share.

So what is in most candles that makes them so toxic? Most candles are made of paraffin. When you look up paraffin on Wikipedia the first thing it says is… Paraffin may refer to the following list of chemicals. Chemicals…Not a good start. Paraffin is actually a petroleum by product, a wax-like solid that is a mixture of saturated hydrocarbons and is typically used in candles, cosmetics and polishes. When burned, paraffin releases carcinogenic chemicals and soot.

Two toxic chemicals that are commonly found in the soot and residue from these candles are benzene and toluene. Human exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer and aplastic anaemia. Acute intoxication from inhalation of toulene is characterized by rapid onset of central nervous system symptoms including, dizziness, confusion, headache, and vertigo just to name a few. Both of these chemicals can also cause developmental issues which is particularly important for me to be aware of currently while pregnant.

Another big problem with scented candles is the scent or fragrance itself. From EWG’s Skin Deep Database, the word “fragrance” or “parfum” on a product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. And when the fragrance or chemicals are heated it’s just amplifying these effects.

Other toxic chemicals that may be present in the paraffin mixture candles and that are released through burning include: Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene. If you rarely burn candles, obviously your risk is lower when being exposed to these chemicals, but think about your friends and family members…the ones that burn candles daily and even worse in a house that doesn’t have open windows. For some people the effects are immediate and severe like getting a headache or feeling short of breath, but for others, they may not realize they are being affected until they gradually develop health issues and will most likely not think that candles could be the culprit.

Better options:

Beeswax and Soy candles burn clean without harmful fumes. Make sure to look for 100% beeswax or soy  as some companies mix beeswax and soy with paraffin and label them as beeswax or soy candles. They never make it easy right? Always read in between the lines, read all ingredients and do your research on anything you don’t recognize. Un-dyed or naturally dyed candles are best and when it comes to scents, only use naturally scented candles, typically made with pure essential oils. Beware of companies like Glade advertising aromatherapy on their candles. Just because you associate aromatherapy with health and typically with essential oils doesn’t mean they are using natural scents. These are still made with synthetic chemical fragrances. Sneaky!

Great brands to check out:

Natura Soy Candles

Over the past 12 years, Natura Soylights has evolved to become one of the leading candle companies to offer handcrafted artisan candles free of toxic and unsustainable ingredients without sacrificing scent quality.

With every purchase, we guarantee you’ll enjoy a product that is:

  • made with pure plant-based ingredients safe for people and the environment
  • naturally scented with essential oils using tested recipes
  • long lasting and clean burning with no wax left on the sides
  • biodegradable and easy to clean up any spilled wax with soap and water
  • Minimal packaging,it’s what’s inside that counts, right?


Carefull Candles

CarefullCandles is the home of scented soy candles made with 100% non-GMO soy wax, 100% non-toxic fragrances and essential oils: carcinogen/phthalate-free/non-synthetic and handmade with love. These candles are chic with a rustic touch perfect for any space in your home or office.

With every purchase, we donate $1 to the Hearts2Honduras foundation to help children in need. Our jars and metal lids can be recycled or repurposed because we love the planet.

15% off with the promo code PUMPKIN


Bee Organic – Organic Beeswax Candles

100% Organic Beeswax Candles are great for cleaning the air when your family is sick while giving off the pleasant aroma of honey. Beeswax candles produce negative ions when burning that remove dust, dirt, odors, viruses, mold, and other pollutants from the air.
Beeswax candles are great for asthmatics or anyone who is allergic or sensitive to scents. We add nothing to our candles at all, just unbleached cotton wick and organic beeswax. Our candles are Non-carcinogenic and Nontoxic and they don’t give off soot like other candles do. Beeswax is the only naturally existing wax in nature, so there are no chemicals needed at all, at any phase to produce our candles.

Everything at Bee Organic is handmade, hand poured, and hand labeled. We take pride in knowing that every product we produce here at Bee Organic is made with care and reaches a quality standard that is unsurpassed in this industry.  Bee Organic only uses renewable and post-consumer US made materials such as glass, paper, and cardboard for all product packaging. We source Fair Trade materials, and we are cruelty free.  We do not use chemicals in any step of our process, nor do our USDA Organic suppliers.


Especially approaching the holiday season, candles are such a common thing to be around and a common item to gift. Spread the word by using or gifting non-toxic candles and explain the “why” behind it. Knowledge is power, but it’s also important that we spread awareness any way we can.

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie


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