Can Candles Make You Sick?

Toxins From Candles

The holidays and scented candles seem to go hand and hand.  It may be the ability to reminisce and bring back childhood memories with certain holiday scents. It may be the default hostess gift for your local Toxins From Candlesgatherings, or that you just like the cozy feeling candles can bring during winter months. Whatever the reason be sure to think twice about what candles you are buying or lighting them this year.

Why does it matter? 

Candles made from Paraffin, create benzene and toluene  along with acetone when they are burned. These  are known carcinogens. In addition, most are created with toxic fragrances that emit additional toxins in to the air when burned.  Breathing in these toxins can affect the central nervous system, as well as cause headaches, drowsiness and aggravate allergies and asthma. Studies show that candles do not need to be lit to emit toxins in your home.  Wicks that contain heavy metals can contribute further to the pollution.

What are your Options?

Moving away from paraffin wax candles leaves you with beeswax or soy candles. Not all soy or beeswax candles are created equal.  Many companies carry “pure” beeswax or soy and in the United States that can mean 51%. That leaves you with 49% of toxic paraffin in your candles. Be sure to read your label to find the phrase “100% pure beeswax or soy”.


Toxins From CandlesLooking further at soy candles, you should know they may also contain many artificial fragrances and dyes. Unfortunately GMO’s come into play here as well. More than 90% of soy is genetically modified, Purchasing a soy candle, is supporting the production of GMO’s.

What about beeswax candles?

If you practice a vegan lifestyle this is a no. If you are not-beeswax candles are the safest and most natural candle choice and actually include some benefits.  Beeswax candles are a natural air cleaner. Beeswax candles won’t go rancid like soy candles can. People with allergies and asthma have reported improvement with the burning of beeswax candles. Burning beeswax supports the beekeepers. Keep in mind, we need honey bees to pollinate food crops.

What are your options?

Knowing paraffin candles were toxic, I assumed soy candles and beeswax candles were created equally. Since I am very against GMO’s I would skip the soy candles at this point. If you are also vegan that would rule out beeswax. My personal option is an essential oil diffuser. There are no risks of having flames anywhere. You get the emotional and aromatic benefits of the scents without including any of the toxins.



Toxins in Coffee Pods

What is the price for convenience?

Are there hidden toxins in coffee pods? While some companies are “exploring” how to produce a pod that can be recycled, others have given the option of collecting them from you (as you reorder). Neither option measures up to the convenience these pods are supposed to provide. K-cups currently claims they offer recyclable pods, however, of all the options available you will not find many. I found 5 choices, all Green Mountain Coffee, Toxins from Coffee Podsthat can be recycled.

Why is it so difficult to recycle them?

The water that passes through the pod is approximately 192 degrees, so they need to remain stable for that temperature. On average, a coffee pod is made of FOUR different layers. One of the layers is often plastic number 7, which is not always an option to recycle.

For the record it is stated that one can separate all the layers to recycle what can be recycled. I am not confident this is even a notable percentage of people. If it IS done apparently the size remaining becomes an issue at the recycling facilities.

Are there health concerns?

Yes. As we now know plastics are full of BPA, (BPA free is not a safer alternative its been proven to be more toxic) BPS, polystyrene, and phthalates which are known endocrine disruptors.  It is the reason we exchanged our plastic water bottles for stainless steel and glass. We are reminded not to drink from the plastic bottles left in a heated car, as they break down and leach into your water, increasing your risks for cancer.  I would venture to guess that streaming hot water through four sturdy layers would also leach toxins into your coffee.

The gross factor?

It is impossible to completely drain the tank lines of water. That means you have a brewing ground for bacteria. Mold and biofilm create yet another list of health issues.

What about the aluminum pods?

Aluminum exposure has been linked to Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases. Personally I opt out of anything aluminum when at all possible.

So what is the solution?

You CAN brew your own coffee-for a significantly cheaper price, eliminating the convenience for environmental and health issues. You CAN opt for some of the newer pods that are not in plastic at all, and are biodegradable.  It is not perfect-you are still using a foil or plastic top, however toxins are cumulative so the more you eliminate the better off you are.

The opinion of the original inventor? He wishes he had not invented them and has thought of solutions for the problems, but people have yet to listen.