For my candle-loving friends

I have long been a bit creeped out when i enter a room full of burning candles. I love the ambience, but paraffin, folks, is a hydrocarbon just like diesel, and hydrocarbon exhaust is hydrocarbon exhaust. I wouldn’t feel good about hanging out in a room filled with burning diesel lamps, no matter how mellow the ambience.

Fortunately there are alternatives: beeswax and soy wax, for two, that avoid some of the downsides of paraffin and also don’t feed the oil industry.

This from a pamphlet put out by Avalon Sunset Candles, makers of beeswax candles:

Many commercial candles are made from paraffin, the greyish-black sludge that oozes from the backside of the petroleum refineries. It’s bleached, textured with a carcinogenic product called acrolyn, chemically coloured and artificially scented.

Did you know? — Paraffin candles create black smoke and soot that coats your home and even your lungs. Fumes from a paraffin candle are like breathing diesel exhaust fumes.

What about the wick? — Health Canada is urging the Canadian candle industry to stop manufacturing and importing candles with lead and zinc core wicks. They are hazardous to human health — even in small amounts. Some candlemakers use lead and zinc cores to make the wicks rigid.

Beeswax facts:

  • Beeswax candles produce negative ions that attract positive ions. But positive ions aren’t so positive. They’re the pollutants such as dust, odours, toxins, pollen, mold, bacteria and viruses that are floating in the air. Beeswax neutralizes the pollutants and they simply fall to the ground. The dustier your home, the more “black debris” you’ll find deposited in the wax around the wick.
  • Beeswax is a safe, valuable fuel — one of the purest known. It burns slower than paraffin, so it’s cheaper to use. Beeswax burns with a golden halo and is significantly hotter than paraffin. Please note: candles listing beeswax as an ingredient may contain as little as 30% beeswax. If it doesn’t state on the label “100% beeswax,” it probably isn’t.

And here’s a page of info on candles made of soy.

You have to do a bit of searching (in nonmainstream stores, of course) but i’ve found both soy and beeswax candles in Ucluelet, so they must be available pretty much everywhere. Be mellow, be healthy!

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