Soy vs. Paraffin

In the past 15 years, candles made of soy have been making an appearance on shelves at retail stores, and the wax has been making its way into candle making supply companies. What is the hype about soy all about? And how does it differ from the wax previously used in candles? While candles produced from paraffin and soy all seem to look alike and smell the same, the differences are like night and day. From the way the candles burn to the affect they have on your family’s health, soy and paraffin candles perform very differently from each other.

Paraffin Candles

Paraffin wax, the most common wax used in candle maxing, is created using a petroleum by-product, gasoline refined from crude oil. When these candles are burned, they can discharge these toxic chemicals they are made with. In a study completed by South Carolina State University, scientists discovered that when they burned these candles in special chambers, the candles emitted toxic fumes like toluene and Benzene. 

Both of these chemicals are linked to birth defects and cancer. Toluene has been linked to disorders related to the nervous system, causing birth defects in children when inhaled by their mothers. Benzene has been related to cancers like leukemia. Aside from these extreme cases, many people who light paraffin wax candles in enclosed spaces also suffer from asthma and allergy symptoms and complain of respiratory problems. The soot emitted from these candles is also the same as the soot diesel engines emit through their exhaust. It can result in cancers that are related to second-hand tobacco smoke. After paraffin wax is made, bleach—yet another chemical—is added to give its candles a pleasant color. Carcinogenic additive is then incorporated into the wax.

According to Dian Wash Astry, the Executive Director of the Health House Project in St. Paul, Minnesota, “Paraffin candles are fast becoming one of the most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air quality.” 

Soy Candles

In the 1990s, soy candles began appearing on the market. Instead of being made from processed chemicals, soy wax is made of hydrogenated soy. Not are these candles devoid of the harmful chemicals in paraffin wax candles, they produce much better results when burned. Soy candles do not produce as many drips as paraffin candles, making them safer, cleaner and easier to burn. They also burn much slower than their paraffin counterparts and can last up to 50% longer. These candles also give off less soot than paraffin candles, keeping counter spaces and furniture cleaner, while keeping the air in the home safer. Candles made of soy, like West garden Candles, have a creamier texture than paraffin ones. They also feel much softer and smoother than their paraffin counterparts. Run a finger across a soy candle, and you’ll feel the difference.

Unlike paraffin wax, soy wax doesn’t contain carcinogens, toxins or pollutants. Meaning soy won’t trigger allergies or cause respiratory issues that paraffin wax is known for. It also does not emit soot created from petrol carbon. Since soy is made in the United States, it supports American farmers, factory workers and other American-based jobs. Paraffin wax supports foreign countries and oil conglomerates. Waxes made with soy, like West garden Candles, are biodegradable, so they won’t leave a carbon footprint on the earth and are water soluble, so spills can be cleaned in a snap.