Now that winter is making its inevitable approach and days are starting to get shorter, I find myself lighting candles almost every evening. There is nothing like the golden glow of candles to add a little romance and warmth to a room. It has been said, though, that “we breathe what we burn”. In the case of paraffin-based wax candles, what is burned is a mix of petroleum, chlorine bleach and several other potentially harmful additives. As the flame flickers, toxic soot is released into the air. This soot contains a myriad of dangerous compounds including benzene, ethanol, acetone, toluene, formaldehyde and naphthalene.
You don’t have to be a chemist to understand that this is some pretty nasty stuff to be inhaling. In fact, the soot released by the paraffin candles is very similar in chemical make-up to diesel exhaust! One way to avoid introducing airborne pollutants into your home is to forgo paraffin candles and choose those made of 100% natural beeswax.
Unlike petroleum-based waxes, which are born in labs and made in factories, beeswax is produced in nature by hard-working bees. Beeswax candles, such as this charming floral pillar by Big Dipper Wax Works (above), are created in small batches by environmentally-conscious artisan candlemakers. These candles will burn cleaner, longer and brighter than those made of paraffin. Also, it is interesting to note that the flame created by beeswax is the same light-spectrum as that of the sun.
Placing these elegant, hand-dipped tapers (below) on your dining table will show your guests that you care about their health and the health of the environment. Plus, the subtle honey fragrance emitted from the candles will not interfere with the taste and enjoyment of your food, as artificially-scented candles will.
The production of beeswax is essential to the bee colony. It is used by the bees to construct their combs in which they live and store their surplus honey. The filtration process that is used to ready the wax for candle making is simple and requires little energy and no additional chemicals. A stark contrast to the hazards of paraffin, burning beeswax is also known to actually improve the air-quality in a room. As beeswax candles burn, they emit negative ions which act as air-cleaners and can even have a mood-elevating effect! (As if the intricate designs on the beautiful spheres (below) aren’t enough to make you smile!)
To see the full line of hand-crafted, environmentally friendly beeswax candles offered by Big Dipper Wax Works, visit their website. Big Dipper donates 10% of the net profits from all candle sales to organizations dedicated to outreach, education, and efforts devoted to promoting sustainable beekeeping. Isn’t that sweet?
Please take a few moments, as well, to check out “The Vanishing of the Bees“ to learn about the decline of the bee population, how it effects all of us and what you can do to help. Saving the bees will not only keep beeswax and honey on our tables, but it will ensure that the crops they are responsible for pollinating continue to thrive and produce.