A Burning Question

I was at a health food store with a friend the other day, cruising the aisles when he asked: “Hey Sarah, why do beeswax candles cost so much more than regular candles?” Well, I had to admit that he had me stumped there. I had heard that beeswax candles were better to burn than their paraffin counterparts, but I didn’t know why exactly. Oohhh so exciting – I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of this one! With a little research I found some truly shocking information that was certainly blog-worthy…
Before I explain why beeswax candles are totally awesome, first I will give you the low-down on the evils of the alternative.

…Paraffin origin…
Most candles we buy are made from paraffin wax. Paraffin is a petroleum by-product, the grayish-black sludge that oozes out of the backside of the petroleum refineries. It is the substance left over after producing many of the other common petroleum products such as gas, oils, pavement, etc.
This crud is then bleached with 100% strength bleach creating dioxins, which are toxic, and then is processed into ‘solid’ paraffin using various carcinogenic, solidifying chemicals.
Candle companies purchase paraffin wax and then add various other ‘texturizing’ chemicals, artificial dyes for colour and synthetic fragrances.

…Synthetic Fragrances…
When synthetic fragrances are burned, they produce toxic fluoro-carbons and other polluting by-products. Inhaling these fluoro-carbons damages the receptors in our nasal passages that detect scent, and long-term, diminishes the overall abilities of your olfactory senses by ‘wearing them out’, one of the reasons why many people seem to ‘require’ increasingly stronger smelling candles (or Glade air freshener), etc., to experience any enjoyable aromas at all!

…Your Precious Lungs…
Last, but certainly not least, is the indirect cost of burning a fuel like paraffin in your home, which emits black soot that coats your walls, household furnishings and curtains, not to mention your lungs and skin. It is a proven fact that paraffin, with its associated synthetic scents and other additives, causes headaches, allergic reactions and difficulties with sinuses and lungs. Anyone with respiratory problems should not burn paraffin candles, nor should those that want to prevent them.

Now that you are convinced to never burn a Dollarama candle again, let me introduce you to beeswax, and the incredible properties it has to offer.

…Beautiful Beeswax…
Burning beeswax produces negative ions. Now, without getting too new age-y or scientific on you, I will just say that that negative ions are a positive thing, since they actually attract pollutants, in much the same way that a magnet attracts iron fillings. Negative ions attach to positively charged ions that hold in dust, dander, molds and other air borne contaminants. Once attached, the positive ions are weighted down and this drops both the ions and the contaminants to the ground surface to be swept up or vacuumed away. Bottom line: burning beeswax will actually clean your air.

You can burn beeswax in an unventilated room without fear of pollution. In fact, many people report that burning a candle in the bedroom for 30 minutes or so before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep.

…Overall Cost…
And to answer my friend’s question: while the initial cost may seem higher than paraffin candles, beeswax burns for much longer, and with many more benefits. Beeswax has a much higher melting point than paraffin and so it burns far more slowly. Costing only pennies an hour to burn, beeswax is much more economical than paraffin over time. Held in high esteem, beeswax has been used since ancient times, by Egyptian kings and Greek and Roman empires.

You can purchase beeswax candles at health food stores and some farmer’s markets. Beware of imitations! Look for 100% pure cappings beeswax, which is the wax that comes from the seal around each cell in the honeycomb. Also, make sure the wick is made of a natural fiber and that there aren’t any artificial scents added. Pure beeswax should smell like honey, naturally.
Burn, baby. Burn.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

7 comments

  1. Effie Poehlein

    It really is evident by this article that advancements in medical technology are extremely essential if we want to save far more human lives. Thanks for giving this kind of up to day information.

  2. Meenakshi

    I didn’t know that regular candles could be so toxic! And I am a sincere candle burner…I love lighting up scented candles each evening. Will check my store for beeswax next time.

  3. Sarah B

    Hi Nicole!

    Although I believe soy is a healthier alternative to paraffin because it burns cleaner, buy pruchasing soy candles you are supporting the American soy industry, which farms mostly genetically modified soy and uses pesticides. It’s up to you! I know how hard it is to find “the perfect solution” in this world. 🙂

    All the best,
    Sarah B

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