Are Soy Candles Safe?

If you're concerned about your health and the health of your family, you may have discovered that not all candles are created equal. Several studies have been done on paraffin candles showing that when lit, they send a toxic plume of chemicals into the air, damaging your lungs and your home. Thankfully, soy candles are safe and release no toxins.

Soy candles are made from soybeans and are a safe alternative to fossil-fuel derived paraffin wax. Soy wax candles don't release carcinogens into the air. Instead, they are sustainable and vegan, and typically do not produce soot.

Soy Wax Is the Best Alternative to Paraffin Wax

The emissions that come from paraffin candles burn hot enough to release chemicals into the air, but not hot enough to destroy them completely. This leads to hazardous molecules becoming suspended in the air instead, providing the chance for them to make their way into your lungs. These molecules include Benzene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Trichloroethane, and Toluene—all of which are either known to be a human carcinogen, a probable cause, or a possible cause.

After being lit, these carcinogens linger in the air and may stay in your home for as long as 10 hours. That means you’re breathing in heavy pollutants long after the candle has been extinguished.

Some studies even conclude that burning paraffin candles in your home can cause air pollution similar to that of the smog in major cities. These facts are enough to make anybody turn away from candles for good, but there are clean-burning alternatives.

Soy candles are one such alternative. They were created by a group of students challenged by their professor to make a birthday candle out of renewable materials. 

Are Soy Candles Safe for Dogs?

Soy wax candles are a clean-burning type of wax that not only prevents soot from streaking your walls and ceiling but also doesn't pollute the air you breathe. Dogs have sensitive noses that can detect even tiny changes in scent, however, so whether candles are appropriate in a pet home is a good question.

While a soy candle itself will not cause any harm to your pet, scented candles can irritate their airways if the smell is too strong. If you love scented candles but don't want your poor dog's eyes to water, it's best to burn your scented candle in a well-ventilated room.

If you’re burning a candle, it's important not to trap your pet in the same room the candle is burning with no ability to leave it if the smell becomes too strong. This includes burning the candle next to the dog while they’re kenneled or closing the door to the room so they’re not able to leave.

Are Soy Candles Safe for Cats?

Unlike your dog, your cat can make things more complicated by being able to jump up to where your candle is, no matter where that may be. This can prove to be a fire hazard, as one careless tail swish or devilish bat of the paws can send your candle flying.

To be safe, never leave your cat alone in a room with lit candles. One mistake could seriously damage your home.

Aside from the dangers of an open flame near mischievous felines, soy candles are safe for your cat's delicate lungs. Once again, scented candles should be selected with care and be used in well-ventilated areas.

RELATED: 6 Benefits of Soy Wax Candles

When shopping for your soy candle, you should take care to look at where the candle is coming from and what it contains. A soy candle from the US or Canada is better than a soy candle from a country that does not have strict regulations in place. The candle should not have a lead wick.

Although lead wicks have been phased out, an older candle may still have one. Even a small amount of lead in the atmosphere can be dangerous.

Are Soy Candles Safe for Birds?

Birds are even more delicate than cats and can die from emissions that don't bother mammals. On top of this, birds are usually caged, limiting their choices of where they can be. While some bird experts state that unscented soy wax candles are fine, others are still concerned that even these candles may cause harm to the pet. Most bird owners opt not to chance it and don't use any candles in their home.

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While unscented candles have mixed reviews, scented candles should not be burned in the same room as the bird. Even natural essential oils can pose a problem. Birds have a very sensitive respiratory system and scents of any sort are generally not recommended.

If you wish to burn a scented candle in a bird home, the candle can't be in the same room as the bird.

Birds are very sensitive, and while the wax itself isn't the problem, the scents can be. For most bird owners, the chance that their bird may be harmed by a candle isn't worth the risk.

Are Soy Candles Safe for Babies?

No one is more precious than the little one in your life. Newborn babies are still delicate and you certainly don't want to put anything into their lungs that would harm their still-developing bodies. On the other hand, as a parent, life can be stressful as you adjust to nighttime wakings and a little one being entirely dependent on your care. Lighting a candle can help reduce your stress.

You should never expose your child to a paraffin candle. Paraffin candles expel several dangerous emissions that are carcinogenic. In a study conducted at a South Carolina University, paraffin candles were placed in a box that could trap the gases emitted by the candle and those emissions were studied to determine how dangerous they were.

“The paraffin candles we tested released unwanted chemicals into the air. For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies, and even asthma. None of the vegetable-based candles produced toxic chemicals,” said lead researcher Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi.

Obviously, this makes burning paraffin candles around babies a concern, but according to Massoudi, vegetable oil candles are fine. This includes soy wax candles.

As with birds, care should be taken when burning scented candles. Keep scented candles in a well-ventilated area and don't leave them burning near the crib. Candles should never be left unattended at any time, especially when there’s a baby involved.

Conclusion

Soy wax candles are generally safe, and scented soy candles can be used with plenty of ventilation around most pets. As with all candles, basic safety needs to be observed no matter what sort of candle it is.

Never leave a candle unattended. Keep scented candles in a well-ventilated area, and choose only vegetable wax candles for a home full of delicate animals or young children.

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