To paraffin or not to paraffin. What is the difference between paraffin wax and beeswax?
– Paraffin wax
Paraffin oil (kerosene) and the solid form paraffin wax are petrochemical fuels. It starts as the black sludge that has been rejected by the oil industry. This petroleum by-product is then bleached with 100% industrial strength bleach, creating toxic dioxins, and changing the colour to its pleasant whiteness. Acrolyn, a known carcinogenic chemical, is then added to form the white sludge into solid white blocks. Once burned, paraffin releases additional carcinogenic toxins such as benzene and toluene into the air causing further issues particular in unventilated rooms. Paraffin blocks are then sold to companies who may add various other chemicals to texturize, artificial dyes for colour and/or synthetic fragrances to create those great candle smells.
Combine this altogether and you get a very toxic product. Burning candles does not produce high enough temperatures to combust the heavy molecules contained in paraffin wax completel. This leads to the formation and emission of hazardous molecules which can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma attacks.
Dr Amid Hamidi, from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg who conducted studies warning of paraffin candles suggests switching to beeswax candles which produce no detectable levels of harmful chemicals yet provided the warmth and ambience.
Beeswax is made by nature’s worker bees. Beeswax candles last up to three times longer than paraffin wax candles and twice as long as soy candles of the same size. No artificial scents or colours are required and is free from petroleum products and chemicals. Beeswax candles do not drip and are smokeless.
The beeswax used by Northern Light Candle Company contain only the purest, unadulterated beeswax. We believe people should have a choice to make clear decisions via education. What you are breathing whilst burning a paraffin candle may be harmful.
Workplace exposure limits due to the fumes created by burning paraffin wax
The ‘exhaust’ or soot from paraffin candles has been examined by the Australian Government’s National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC). The NOHSC recommends workplace exposure limits of 2 milligrams of paraffin fume per cubic meter, over an eight-hour period*.
So to be safe, it is permissible to burn 2mg for each cubic meter of air space in a confined room, over an 8 hour period (when you are working/sleeping/resting). Let’s say for example, your room is a 30 cubic meter room, [3 meters x 4 meters x 2.5 meters high}. Each 8 hour paraffin tea light will hold up to 20,000 mg – so, back inside the 30 cubic meter room of workspace, you are permitted only 60mg in this air space, to be safe, over an 8 hour period.
So, inside the 30 cubic meter room with the windows and doors shut, if you are burning 2 paraffin 8-hour tealight candles, you may well need to evacuate that room in under 3 minutes, to be safe. This information is according to almost all international standards on paraffin fume.
Under fire decomposition, paints and scents in fume can be by far more more dangerous to you and/or your children’s health, especially where there are heavy metals involved in the ingredients, such as paints.
One should be very cautious if you choose to buy or burn a candle that has been decorated, or potentially worse, painted or dyed or perfumed.
Northern Light Candle Company’s candles contain no paraffin.
*Source: Australian Government National Occupational Health and Safety.