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   Home  •  Blog  •  Health And Wellbeing  •  Uncovered: The Dangers Of Paraffin Wax



Uncovered: The Dangers Of Paraffin Wax

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Paraffin wax is petroleum-derived producing soot that can potentially be inhaled by yourself and loved ones impacting on long term health and this soot can stain fabric and most surfaces, in this age there are affordable alternatives





ELIZABETH QUINN 21/02/2020



So the candles sit and look like pretty coloured marvels in their glass container, new and shiny yet the harmful effects they can cause on the body are not as advertised, the penetrating of the deepest area of your lungs with toxic chemicals





Before we find what it is that is so wrong with Paraffin wax, let us see what alternatives are readily available.



You want something that is clean and green, affordable. Something that will personalise your best room as much as your own nook, am I right?



Vegetable Oil and Waxes



Pretty much every vegetable oil you can name can be a useful wax to burn, after hydrogenation ― the process of turning a liquid into a solid, at room temperature ― that is green and renewable. Perfect!



So you can rummage through your favourite boutique for home decor accessories made with:



  • Soy wax

  • Coconut wax

  • a Soy and Rapeseed blend (my personal favourite)

  • or a Soy and Coconut combination is nice also

  • but Palm, usually blended with Paraffin isn't so nice




Just what is Paraffix wax anyway?


Once the crude oil has been refined to make petrol, the barrel inside is coated in an environment toxic gray-black sludge.


This sludge has zero value to the oil industry as is, it is pure waste.


Until a later discovery in the mid-1800s, found with further refinement this waxy sludge could be burnt reasonably safely and is what we now accept as Paraffin.




Many quality candle manufacturers choose a 100% Soy wax for its affordability. And the crop is thought to be sustainable. The finished pour is even and smooth.



At Mary Jean® we prefer a wax blend of Soy and Rapeseed simply because our consumption of resources are equally shared between two crops, not one. We feel this decision is better for our planet when demand for Soy outstrips demand for Palm and Coconut.



Soy is not a high yielding crop. Rapeseed by far produces more oil1 per hectare for comparison:



  • Soybean produces 0.5 tons per hectare

  • Rapeseed produces 0.8 tons per hectare

  • Palm produces 3.8 tons per hectare



As the Amazon burns for Soy plantations the Soy and Rapeseed wax blend we source, both crops are farmed and harvested in the UK. The wax produced is GMO-free we are pleased to say. Not always the case with imports.



Palm and Paraffin, @#%$ No



As a good samaritan you would choose the greener option, of course you would. Be mindful of those manufacturers opting to use a blend of Palm and Paraffin wax. This is a cost cutting exercise and marketing their wares as a green sustainable product.



Slightly better than a full Paraffin waxed candle but sustainable? Fewer potential toxins in your home yes but you will pay a premium price for what is a "less greener" product.



My thoughts? Leave them on the shelf and look at another brand of product.



A better candle but..



But what..?



You are happy to consider a natural candle and one that is affordable. But heed my warning: you could still be "over charged" for your green, eco-friendly candle.





The fragrance may be a lovely aroma, strong in scent and pleasing but this fragrance may also originate from industrial chemicals. Industrial fragrance is well known to cause allergies and irritation, not to mention environmental considerations of waste management.



What you thought was a quality product safe for your health and wellbeing, isn't quite hitting the mark.



Just as not all mass produced home air fresheners use essential oils, not all candles (or diffusers for that matter) use essential oils either. If you want the best experience for yourself and family, visitors to your home you'll seek out home fragrance decor made with essential oils.



Paraffin



Here are the things you must know and respect about Paraffin.2 Understand the following points is vital to ensuring your home is safe. Safe for everyone including your pets who will often be affected first.





  • only Paraffin is comprised of man-made compounds, vegetable oils have no toxins

  • only the burning of Paraffin will you find soot in your home, vegetable oils have no carbon

  • Paraffin releases 11 toxins when burnt,3 two are carcinogens (cancer causing agents)

  • Petroleum is not renewable, is polluting and unsafe for children and pregnant women

  • all vegetable oils melt at lower temperatures, Paraffin has the highest melting point

  • essential oil fragrance is stronger with a vegetable wax, compared to the Paraffin equivalent

  • soot from Paraffin is an air pollutant and cause of respiratory issues and asthma

  • soot from Paraffin can be as deadly as diesel soot and the many toxins found in cigarette smoke



The Toxins that Posion


Burning Paraffin releases many poisoning toxins, including but not limited to the following:



  • toluene ― affects the central nervous system, altering DNA structure

  • benzene ― a known cancer causing agent

  • naphthalene ― neurological damage and blindness

  • tri-decane, tetra-decane, penta-decane, hexa-decane ― known cancer causing agents4

  • acetone ― respiratory irritant, cause of headaches and confusion, nausea and vomiting

  • trichlorofluoromethane ― a CFC odorless gas

  • carbon disulfide ― reproductive toxicity concerns

  • carbon tetrachloride ― causes kidney and liver damage, affects the central nervous system

  • chlorobenzene ― affects the central nervous system

  • ethylbenzene ― cause of eye and throat irritation





Remind me.. why Soy?



Health conscious shoppers are discovering Soy candles are a favourable, affordable alternative to Paraffin candles. Soy has become a mainstream "go to" raw material that is green and sustainable, renewable in comparison.



  • Soy wax is clean burning with no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants, less likely to trigger allergies

  • Soy wax gives a richer fragrance throw, and a fragrance that is released more evenly and easily

  • Soy wax has a lower melting point, the wax burns cleaner which means a Soy candle lasts up to 50% longer



Soy wax is 100% biodegradable, a renewable resource. As more and more consumers demand an ecological safe product many more manufacturers are swapping Paraffin for either Soy or Coconut as their first choice in a wax.





1 https://www.ufop.de/files/6313/9290/2452/M-competitiveness-YZ-2010.pdf

2 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1207726/Candles-release-scents-laced-cancer-chemicals-warn-scientists.html

3 http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2016/ph240/lee-m2/

4 https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/decane_508.pdf




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