Why Soy & Essential Oils?
Why Soy and Essential Oils?
Nontoxic Solutions to an Industrialized World
With all of the options for candle wax out there, why soy? The default for candles became petroleum wax with industrialization in the mid 19th century. Studies have shown that paraffin (petroleum based) candles are toxic to burn, releasing many known carcinogens. While beeswax is a hard wax that is entirely natural and burns slowly, it is resource intensive for bees to make a small amount of wax. It’s far more cost effective to use soy wax, and it’s vegan* at that! Coconut wax is another option, but as a tropical plant, it poses local sourcing challenges here in the US.
While it seems like a harmless crop to replace decomposing dinosaur bones, soy is actually one of several cash crops contributing to deforestation in some of the worlds’ most ecologically diverse habitats.
Soy can come with pitfalls of its own. While it seems like a harmless crop to replace decomposing dinosaur bones, soy is actually one of several cash crops contributing to deforestation in some of the worlds’ most ecologically diverse habitats. We carefully source our soy from farmers in the Midwest. This minimizes the distance the wax is shipped, doesn’t contribute to deforestation, and promotes local industry. While ideally we could grow all of our own supplies and render the wax we use in a backyard homestead, this comes in as the next best thing.
Soy Grown in the Midwest
We keep crops local and avoid tropical deforestation.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the wax that’s a problem. Even wicks come laced with zinc and lead.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the wax that’s a problem. Even wicks come laced with zinc and lead. We use only braided cotton wicks and test them for size to ensure minimal soot buildup. If you have a candle with a smoking wick, first make sure it is not in a breeze. If it is still smoking, blow out the candle and when it is cool to the touch trim the wick to 1/4”. If the wick is the correct size, this will prevent particulate buildup. Wicks that are too large tend to create more soot buildup, or burn too quickly without utilizing all of the wax.
Yet another toxic ingredient in most candles, even of the soy and beeswax varieties, is the fragrance used. When a candle advertises “fragrance” oils, they are synthetic chemicals formulated to mimic scents. They are a major contributor to household pollutants. They are frequently carcinogenic, and cause irritation in many of our noses and respiratory systems. They mask scents in our natural environments, so they’re used to change the scent of a dirty room, and musky car, or cover pet odors. The scents linger, but so do their major health consequences, including potentially damaged reproductive development in children, and they do nothing to address the source of the scent. Essential oils are a non-toxic solution for those of us sensitive to artificial smells, and working to live more simply. They offer aromatherapeutic qualities in place of pollutants. Talk about a win.
Essential oils are a non-toxic solution for those of us sensitive to artificial smells, and working to live more simply. They offer aromatherapeutic qualities in place of pollutants. Talk about a win.
With all of the negative impacts various commercial candles can have, we stand behind ours as a healthy and holistic alternative. We carefully source each ingredient not only to avoid potential toxins, but to support local and responsible production.
These are candles we feel good about burning in our own home, and are happy to share with the people we care about.
We hope you get cozy and enjoy!
Hannah & Pepe
*Disclaimer: while we are vegan approved, we have no certifications! We’re happy to answer any questions about our products or process if you get in touch.
These are the studies and articles linked throughout this post. If you have any additional resources to bring to our attention or want to continue the conversation, we’d love to hear from you.
Harvard University Press book citing paraffin development
South Carolina State University study on paraffin vs vegetable based wax
Yale article on soy farming and deforestation
EPA study on lead in wicks
National Institute of Health article on VOCs produced from fragrances
Natural Resource Defense Council study on fragrance impacts in reproductive development in children