How Toxic Are Candles?

Article published at: Jun 25, 2024 Article author: Votive Team
How Toxic Are Candles?
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Candles are an essential part of many homes, bringing light, warmth, and pleasant aromas. However, in recent years, concerns about the potential toxic effects of certain types of candles have increased. In this article, we will explore how toxic candles can be, the associated risks, and how to choose safer candles for your health and your family's well-being.

Types of Wax and Potential Risks

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is one of the most common types of wax used in candles. It is derived from petroleum products, and when burned, it can emit harmful chemicals such as toluene and benzene, both known carcinogens​.


  • Soot Emissions: Burning paraffin wax candles can produce soot, which can affect indoor air quality and cause respiratory irritation.
  • Toxic Chemicals: Studies have shown that paraffin candles can release toxic chemicals that contribute to respiratory problems and other health issues​.


Soy Wax


Soy wax is a more eco-friendly and healthier alternative to paraffin wax. It is derived from soybean oil, a natural and renewable resource.



  • Clean Burning: Soy wax candles burn cleaner and produce less soot.
  • Non-Toxic: Soy wax does not emit toxic chemicals when burned, making it safer for indoor use​.


Beeswax is another type of natural wax produced by bees. It is considered one of the safest options for candles.


  • Air Purification: Beeswax can emit negative ions that help purify the air.
  • Non-Toxic: It contains no added chemicals and burns cleanly without producing soot​.

Candle Wicks




Candle wicks can also be a source of toxicity. Wicks that contain lead have been banned in many countries, but it is important to ensure your candles do not contain such wicks. Cotton or wood wicks are safer alternatives​.

Essential Oils and Synthetic Fragrances

Many scented candles contain either essential oils or synthetic fragrances. While essential oils are generally considered safe, synthetic fragrances can contain phthalates and other chemicals that can be harmful to health​​.

Recommendation: Choose candles that use only pure essential oils for fragrance and avoid products containing synthetic fragrances​​.

How to Choose Safer Candles

To minimize the risks associated with using candles, here are some useful tips:

  • Choose candles made from soy wax or beeswax.
  • Check the wicks to ensure they are made from cotton or wood and do not contain lead.
  • Opt for candles scented with pure essential oils.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the room when using candles.


Candles can add warmth and comfort to our homes, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with certain types of wax and fragrances. By choosing candles made from natural and non-toxic materials, such as soy wax or beeswax, and avoiding synthetic fragrances, we can create a healthier and safer environment for ourselves and our loved ones.

To discover a selection of safe and eco-friendly candles, visit


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