The Soy Difference

We all love burning candles. Whether it’s for the ambience or the soothing scents they emit, there’s something special about candles. You may have researched the wine for that romantic candle-lit dinner at home, but have you thought about the best candles to burn? There is a distinct difference between traditional paraffin candles and soy candles. There are many reasons why soy is better than paraffin. One reason is that soy candles are good for the environment because they are clean burning candles.

Soy vs Paraffin Candles

You’ve contrasted red and white wine and vineyards in California and France, but have you thought about comparing and contrasting the properties of paraffin and soy candles?

Soy candles are better for the environment

Soy candles are hailed for their ability to burn clean. After burning paraffin candles, there remains black soot that collects on the candle jar’s glass interior and the residue of soot on top of the candle. The soot also coats the walls, drapes, and furniture of your home, making candle burning an activity that requires more frequent cleaning. On top of that, cleaning doesn’t always result in a room being as clean as it was before. Clean burning candles that produce no soot offer a chance to enjoy candles without its sooty side effects.

Why do paraffin candles produce soot?

Incomplete combustion results in soot particles, which is collectively called petro-carbon soot because it comes mostly from petroleum-based fuels.

Do soy candles produce soot?

Soy wax is free of petro-carbon soot, resulting in lower soot levels for purer air quality. Soy candles produce a negligible amount of soot because of added fragrances and because only a pure blue flame can be soot free (unless you invent something!). Blue complete-combustion flames would be cool, though very hot! In any case, we’re not there yet.

Air quality

Clean air is one of the top reasons clean burning candles are a great option. According to various environmental agencies, there are cancer-causing agents in paraffin candles, since soot can penetrate the lungs.

What are we breathing in?

The soot we see on our candle jar interiors and on the walls isn’t just an annoyance to clean. It also indicates there is soot in the air we’re breathing.

In fact, one study showed candle emissions exceed the EPA’s recommended levels of acrolein, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde.

Emission tests

In 2000, the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group conducted a study of lead content in Baltimore-Washington area candles. They tested the wicks of 285 candles for lead and found nine candles (3%) contained lead. Lead content ranged from approximately 24,000 to 118,000 μg (33 to 85% of the metal’s weight).

An academic study tested for emissions of lead and zinc from candles with metal-core wicks found in Michigan stores. The study found fourteen brands of candles manufactured in the U.S., Mexico, and China contained lead. Emission rates ranged from 0.52 to 327 μg-lead/hour, resulting in lead levels in air ranging from 0.02 to 13.1 μg/m3.

While these concentrations are below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit 4 (PEL) of 50 μg/m3, they are above the EPA outdoor ambient air quality standard 5 of 1.5 μg/m3.

Also note that the EPA standard was not developed to test indoor air conditions, so it is a conservative value. In addition, OSHA’s PEL values are likely also conservative as they were not designed with the protection of the general public, children, or sensitive populations in mind.

Regardless, you can be sure that Kristin and Company candles are completely lead-free!

A dirty house

None of us want Black Soot Deposition (BSD), a.k.a. dirty house syndrome. As discussed earlier, black soot results from the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels. Complete combustion results in a blue flame, and produces negligible amounts of soot and carbon monoxide.

The amount of soot produced varies by candle, some candles producing 100 times more soot than another type. According to the EPA, one study found that elemental carbon emission rates in candles ranged from <40 to 3,370 μg/g.

Soot also varies. In addition to elemental carbon, candle soot may include phthalates, lead, benzene, and toluene.

Airborne soot can be inhaled and penetrate the lungs, causing various health issues from bronchitis to cancer. 

Look for “Made in the U.S.A.” 

Though candles emit acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, acrolein, and naphthalene, the main problem is lead.

Metal keeps wicks standing up straight rather than falling into the melting wax around it.

Lead was used in candles sold in the U.S. until 1974. Though no law was passed, the U.S. candle manufacturing industry voluntarily discontinued lead wicks. However, though they have been shown to emit lead when burned, candles with lead wicks are still sold in the U.S.

According to the National Candle Association (NCA), most U.S. candle manufacturers abide by their pledge not to use lead wicks. Zinc has mostly replaced lead, as zinc wicks are a safer alternative. However, foreign countries aren’t subject to the agreement. The countries that export the most candles to the U.S. are China, Taiwan, England, Hong Kong, and Mexico.

If the candles you’re thinking about buying aren’t labeled and aren’t made in the U.S.A., why risk it? Even better, buy soy. Then you don’t have to wonder if the candles are made by one of the U.S. manufacturers that don’t abide by the written agreement to avoid lead. Then you’re guaranteed clean burning candles. 

You can be sure that every candle you purchase from Kristin and Company is free of harmful metals because we only use cloth wicks in all of our environmentally friendly candles. Our braided cotton burn clean and emit no harmful metals into the atmosphere of your home.

Beautiful – and healthy – candles

With all of these studies pointing to the deleterious consequences of soot on our health, clean burning candles are an attractive alternative.

Soy wax is an ideal substitute for paraffin wax. “Substitute” might not be the best word because it suggests an inferior imitation, but soy wax has so many benefits that make it a great move forward in the candle-making business. Plus, these clean burning candles look the same as traditional candles!

In with the new

Some people might resist the idea of the new. But, it’s similar to how we eat healthier today. While some people long for the “good ol’ days,” do we really want to go back to eating trans fat and high-fructose corn syrup? Maybe the old days aren’t so romantic as they seemed.

Nostalgia is great, but it doesn’t save our lungs or the environment!

It’s time to get used to something that’s good for us. The future is clean burning candles.

Why soy is better than paraffin

There are many reasons soy candles are superior to paraffin, including the environment and beyond.

Key benefits of clean burning soy candles

  • Renewable
  • Biodegradable
  • Doesn’t increase CO2 levels in earth’s atmosphere
  • Burns cleaner
  • Non-toxic
  • Produces negligible amounts of soot
  • Doesn’t release any known carcinogens into the air
  • Doesn’t require chemicals to add scents
  • Made from vegetable oil (soybeans)
  • Soy wax supports American farmers
  • Soy wax releases fragrance easier and wider
  • Can burn twice as long as paraffin candles
  • Burns at a cooler temperature than paraffin candles
  • Soy wax spills are easier to clean up (just use soap and water!)

Check Us Out and Start Burning Soy Candles Today!

Kristin and Company provides soy candles in a variety of scents. We’re sure to have a handful that you’ll fall in love with.

Visit our shop to try one of our clean burning candles today and take advantage of 50% off your initial order (requires new customer registration).

Try out clean burning candles and see why soy is better than paraffin.




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