Tuesday, July 6, 2010
A good article on candle waxes.
Making choices based on research facts instead of hear-say.
I am questioned frequently about our choice to use Paraffin as the base for our candles. There is a common myth flying out there in the market that Soy and Palm wax do not give off soot when burning and that Paraffin is toxic. Coventry took these initial reports very seriously and started doing our research. When this myth developed into a fevered pitch, we literally stopped the presses until we understood the environmental impact of each wax choice on front of us.
We asked a good friend who is also a biochemist to help us sort through all the scientific information we were unearthing and what we learned is very eye opening.
1. Every negative report on the toxins of paraffin trace back to a statement from the soy wax industry.
2. We only found 2 independent studies on the comparisons of toxins released from paraffin and soy wax. Both shows a less than one part per million differences in the toxins released during the burn of the different waxes.
3. Soy candles do give off soot, it is white. Paraffin’s soot is black.
4. Most toxins are released by poor quality fragrances used in the candle. A low quality fragrance will contain the chemicals that are irritants and toxic when burnt.
5. Most soy wax comes from outside of the US. The Soy grown in the US is for food and medical grade products. Soy grown outside of the US is not subject to the same laws concerning pesticides and GMO crops. Soy wax is grown corporately and does not benefit the small farmer. Organic soy wax is available – at 3x the cost and is only available in very limited quantities.
6. Paraffin is a byproduct of the oil industry. It is a throw-away to them and it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the refineries started charging for the Paraffin. They would pay people to take it away. If not for use in candles and other products, paraffin would be discarded into the environment.
7. The same chemical is used in refining paraffin and soy wax.
8. Soy wax is too soft for votives or pillars and must be poured into glass. The amount of crude oil used in manufacturing and transporting glass has a greater impact upon the environment that all the paraffin candles in the world.
9. The sand used for glass manufacturing is being stripped from the environment. Unfortunately, very little is available in recycled glass in the jar candle industry. Recycled glass is 2x the cost of “new” glass, prohibiting most manufacturers from using it. Don’t get me started on the non-glass lids. Metal or plastic, they have an even greater impact on the environment and some are not even recyclable.
10. Recycling your empty glass container. Only about 20% of glass is recycled. The remainder goes into landfills. Again a greater environmental impact than discarding the remainder of every paraffin candle ever burnt.
11. The over farming of soy (and corn) are becoming a worldwide concern. Most soy is farmed in South America by large corporate farms. They are devastating the local communities by clear cutting forests and over-farming the land until all nutrients in the soil are destroyed and no other crops can grow there.
12. Palm Wax is another crop that is being over-farmed in South America causing the clear cutting of forest lands.
13. Over farming of beeswax kills the bees.
14. American made candles DO NOT contain lead in any form.
Imported candles can contain lead in the wick, glass and sometimes even in the candle.