Many candles are toxic.

Most commercially sold candles are really bad for you. They pollute your air and contain substances known to be carcinogenic. The harmful effects of producing cheaply made, synthetic products like most candles are poorly studied and under-regulated because the EPA and similar agencies have bigger fish to fry, but just like you weren’t meant to eat chemical sludge-like substances posing as food (ask Michael Pollan), you weren’t meant to smell and breathe in chemical sludge-like substances posing as candles.

Take paraffin.

Most candles are comprised of paraffin wax, a product of petroleum refinement. Birthed on the bottom of an oil barrel, this grey chemical sludge is what the oil and gas companies reject on route to creating those products. Next it is bleached with very strong bleach, and carcinogenic chemicals like acrolein are added to make a harmless looking, inexpensive chemical wax.

Toluene and benzene. Those are two known carcinogens emitted by burning inherently toxic paraffin candles (medical study here).

And how about those cheap, synthetic fragrances mixed into almost any commercial candle?

I don’t know about you, as I would instinctively mistrust a candle marketed as “Caramel Pecan Pie”, but if you need more convincing… artificial fragrances are typically made from petroleum or coal which degrade in the environment and cause skin irritations. These synthetic chemicals replicate the natural aroma of products which already exist in nature, or are marketed in candles to evoke something that sort of exists in nature (like Honeydew Mountain Spring…gag).

Companies use synthetics because they are inexpensive, and because the EPA is too overwhelmed to regulate them properly even though their safety is often dubious or yet to be fully studied and won’t be for many years.

Synthetics may be less expensive than using the natural scent from essential oils, just as a fast food hamburger may be less expensive than an organic, locally grown apple… but synthetics also provides a less satisfactory sensory experience, and do a lot more long term harm to a body.

Just because synthetics are all over our supermarket shelves, we shouldn’t assume that they are safe. We may soon know different. What about mercury, lead paint and asbestos? After all, we used to wear mercury in our felt hats (back when gents wore that sort of thing), until hat makers started showing signs of dementia.

And speaking of lead, don’t get me started on the subtle harms of candle wicks. Until they were banned in 2003, many foreign-made candles contained a dangerous amount of lead in their wicks. And while candle wicks you buy now hopefully don’t contain lead, they are not regulated enough for you to be assured that they are always composed of natural, safe substances either.

Such are just some of the evils of synthetic fragrances, paraffin wax and other common candle ingredients. CherePashka Candles include no synthetic or chemical fragrances and are comprised only of soy and coconut wax, with cotton wicks and recycled glass containers! They also look and smell fantastic… but you knew that, I hope!

Cherepashka Artisanal Candles