Cozy Carcinogens

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The amount of money I used to spend on Bath and Body Works fall candles is embarrassing. I used to be that girl. Candles do create cozy vibes, but once I realized that they were releasing carcinogens into my home, I knew it was time to part with my candle collection. (Okay, I've kept a few for decoration...note the photo above) Now, I can't even smell one let alone light one without a massive headache and watery eyes.

What I've realized is that "cozy vibes" aren't really that cozy if I'm being poisoned at the same time. There are plenty of other ways to create a seasonal and comfy atmosphere without burning carcinogens! (Not to mention Bath and Body Works tests on animals and I don't want those kind of vibes in my home!!!)

Paraffin Wax
Candles from places like Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, dollar stores, Target, etc, need to be avoided at all costs. The main danger of these candles is the paraffin wax used. Paraffin is a petroleum waste product and when it is burned, it creates up to twenty toxins, two of them being benzene and toluene which are known carcinogens! The soot from paraffin candles gives off the same soot as the exhaust of a diesel engine. I know, nasty right?

Synthetic Fragrance
On top of the paraffin wax being extremely dangerous to our health, add in a bunch of chemical-filled fragrances and dyes and you've got even more to worry about. Fragrance is a "Trade Secret" ingredient meaning that ingredients do not have to be disclosed! Whenever you see something with the ingredient "fragrance", "perfume" or even "natural fragrance"- that's a code word for a cocktail of dangerous chemicals. Avoid anything with these ingredients at all cost- candles included! Fragrance companies can put WHATEVER chemicals they want into the fragrance and have absolutely no requirements to disclose those toxins. These fragrances contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals, and much, much more. Read more about the dangers of synthetic scents in this article from Dr. Axe.

Lead Wicks
Many candles also contain lead in the wick which releases an amount of lead into the air higher than the declared "safe" amount by the EPA (let's be real- no amount of lead is safe!!!!) Lead is dangerous to all parts of the body and it is so important to keep out of your home and out of your lungs.

Alternatives
Now that we knowthese candles we once thought were cute and cozy are actually wreaking havoc on our health, you may be wondering what you can use instead. You can break free of your candle obsession while still being able to maintain a cozy space!

Essential oils are a great alternative to scented candles. Not only do they smell amazing, but they are amazing for you! By purchasing quality, clean, pure, and organic oils, you can create amazing scents combinations for any mood. You can even make your own candles and use essential oils instead of chemical-filled fragrance! Check out this post for a ton of fall scented blends.

Himalayan salt lamps are another way to create a cozy atmosphere. I don't have one myself, but my good friend Kate has two and says they are amazing! I've heard wonderful things about them from so many people. They purify the air and ease stress and anxiety. Just made sure you are purchasing an authentic one!

If you just can't imagine parting ways with candles, I recommend investing in or DIYing some unscented organic beeswax candles or organic soy candles with a lead-free wick. They are much cleaner burning and beeswax candles actually purify the air. If you light these while diffusing essential oils you will still have a scent but you will be keeping the atmosphere safe and toxin free.

Further Reading and Sources:
Toxins In Candles
Toxins in Candles: Sad But True
Candles
Why I Don't Use Scented Candles

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