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The Cancer-causing Chemical in Your Home You Should Get Rid of Right Now

by Natalia Nicholson June 29, 2021 3 min read


There might be something in your home right now that smells so good and looks nice, but is slowly killing you. Guess what it is? It's your scented candle. Most candles in the market today are made of paraffin wax, which we'll be talking about as we progress with the article.

But before we do, it’s best to get a better understanding of what paraffin wax is, what it is used for, and why it is so dangerous. Today, we invite you to join us, as we take a closer look at the leading cause of cancer that can be found in most candles!

Paraffin Wax 101: What Exactly is It and What is It Used For?

Paraffin wax is made from saturated hydrocarbons and it often comes in the form of a white/colourless solid or soft wax. One can often find it in spa or salon treatments and are often used on feet, hands, and cuticles as a skin-softening solution. Medically, it can also be used to provide pain relief caused by sore muscles or joints.

Other uses include electrical insulation, lubrication, and ingredients to manufacture crayons and candles. But despite its many benefits and uses, paraffin wax holds a dark secret that not a lot of people know about.

The Carcinogenic Effect of Paraffin Wax

Carcinogens are any kind of substance that promotes carcinogenesis (the development and growth of cancer cells). Since paraffin wax is derived from shale oil, petroleum, or coal (saturated hydrocarbons known to have carcinogens), it’s only natural for it to contain carcinogens like benzene. Another kind of carcinogen that’s often found in paraffin wax is toluene.

By definition, toluene is a water-insoluble and colourless liquid that can be naturally found in crude oil. Toluene can cause many negative effects to a person’s body, including difficulty sleeping, tiredness, and pregnancy loss. However, since paraffin wax can sometimes contain both benzene and toluene, it can harbour a lot more harmful effects to one’s health.

Health Issues Brought By Paraffin Wax

You might be shocked by just how many health issues a paraffin-based candle can cause. Take a look at some of the ill effects that they can bring to a human body below:

  • Damage to the Bone Marrow - The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that extreme levels of benzene exposure can damage the bone marrow. Continued exposure can lead to a decrease in red blood cells, causing anaemia to insidiously develop.

  • Nausea - Considerably a lot less fatal than anaemia, nausea can be just as debilitating, especially if it’s occurring on a daily basis. Toluene and benzene can both cause fatigue, headache, and nausea, once they are dispersed into the air.

  • Cancer - Just like what we’ve mentioned before, benzene is a known carcinogen. Continued exposure to this harmful chemical can induce carcinogenesis to any part of the body, which can prove to be lethal and incurable if left unchecked.

With all of these in mind, it’s best to steer clear from paraffin-based candles or products. Choose candles made from soy wax or beeswax instead. 

Soy wax candles are derived from soy wax, which happens to be a form of soybean oil. Although it has a lower melting point, it has plenty of benefits that anybody can enjoy, including:

  • less soot formation
  • exceptionally safe for everyone
  • burns slower, making it last longer
  • safe for the environment—it’s biodegradable
  • it’s made from renewable and natural resources

If you are looking to shift to a healthier alternative, of course one that does not cause cancer, we recommend that you pick soy wax candles!

Natalia Nicholson
Natalia Nicholson

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