• Vennessa McConkey

Scented Candles and Their Affects with Autoimmunity

I’ll admit- sometimes, I wish I could climb back into my years of ignorance is bliss and forget everything I’ve learned about real food and natural lifestyle living. It would be so easy to go back to before I knew about the problems with vegetable oils, or gluten, or sugar, or processed grains.

It would be so easy to feed my kids cereal out of a bag, go through a fast-food drive thru, and use regular laundry detergent. But I'm telling you, I just can't.

One of the areas I want to share with you is about scented candles. Here's the thing, even innocent looking scented candles with their soft warm cozy glow have their dirty little secrets.

Hear me out before you throw your hands up saying that everything around you is toxic and you get overwhelmed.


Though they seem safe, our scented candles are a quite the source of indoor air pollution and they output chemicals that are considered just as dangerous as second-hand smoke. They contain paraffin, which is a petroleum waste product and has to be deodorized and chemically bleached before it can be made in to wax. (source) YUCK!

That nasty paraffin creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens). Here's the thing, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes - not something any of us should be breathing in, let alone our animals or little ones.

On top of those two, many scented candles also have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead, and even a few hours of burning them can create levels of airborne heavy metals that are much higher than the acceptable limits. In the US, candle wicks are supposed to be made of cotton or paper, but studies have found that as much as 30% of candles contain heavy metals in the wicks.


Ah....I can't even write anymore about this!


“A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC, which is why they banned lead wicks in 2003. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.” (source)

Heard enough yet?! I have! Thankfully, I found some great alternatives…

Swaps for Scented Candles

We all want nice, fresh smelling homes (I know I do with these smelly sweaty boys running around all day!). Fortunately, there are some great alternatives to scented candles and after trying them, I realize I like the alternatives more.

One alternative is soy-based candles, but the majority of soy is genetically modified, and I prefer to not use soy at all. The top alternative I’ve found is beeswax candles, which are not only safe, but have the added benefit of helping clean indoor air.


Then there is always the good, ol' essential oil diffusers. We like to have one big one in the main room, one in the kids room and one in our bedroom. I love diffusers because you can change out the scent daily, heck sometimes multiple times a day if you'd like! So what alternative will you switch to to better your environment?


Comment and share!


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